Hillary Clinton Ends Her Diplomatic Visit to Pakistan

Friday US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton heard advice from Pakistani elders.

Meanwhile, the diplomatic visit was overshadowed by an outburst against the government over Al-Qaeda and a devastating attack.

Clinton has spent three days in the troubled nuclear-armed Muslim state, which President Barack Obama has put at the heart of the war on Al-Qaeda and where increasing attacks have killed 2,400 people in two years.

Kicking off a last day of public diplomacy, the US diplomat held open-air talks with representatives from the country's northwest, which borders Afghanistan and where areas are thick with Al-Qaeda-linked and Taliban militias.

Clinton has focused on trying to strengthen the civilian government and counter rising public anti-Americanism, but has been frustrated by fears that a 7.5 billion dollar non-military aid bill violates Pakistan's sovereignty, AFP reports.

It was also reported, one lawmaker urged Clinton to seek to negotiate an end to the conflict in Afghanistan and then to extend the effort to Pakistan.

Clinton welcomed the idea of negotiations. But she noted that the U.S. had to take action after the Taliban had refused to hand over al-Qaida leaders responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks.

A day earlier, in Lahore, Clinton told a group of university students that she found it hard to believe that the Pakistani government could not capture al-Qaida leaders if it really wanted to, Voice of America reports.

In th meantime, Pakistani forces killed two dozen militants in 24 hours and were closing in on a prominent insurgent stronghold in the mountains of South Waziristan, the army said Friday.

Government soldiers now control the hills above the village of Sararogha, where Taliban leaders long have operated openly, officials said in a statement. The army said during the advance two Pakistani soldiers were killed in a militant mortar attack and three were injured in a bombing.

A total of 299 militants and 34 government soldiers have been killed in the offensive, according to a tally of army figures. Six more militants have been arrested.

Access to South Waziristan is heavily restricted, so independently verifying death tolls from fighting is all but impossible, The Associated Press reports.

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