US 'not the enemy of Islam'
US Vice President Joe Biden delivered a bold message of support for key anti-terror ally Pakistan during a trip to Islamabad yesterday, telling the country that America is "not the enemy of Islam".
After talks with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani he described as "extremely useful", Biden addressed anti-American sentiment in Pakistan, fanned by the ongoing war in Afghanistan and a covert US drone campaign on its border.
"There are even some sections in Pakistani society and elsewhere that suggest American disrespects Islam and its followers," Biden told a joint press conference at the prime minister's residence.
"We are not the enemies of Islam and we embrace those who practise that great religion in all our country," he added.
Biden said that Taliban and Al Qaeda elements living in the remote lawless areas of the country's northwest were a threat to Pakistan.
"A close partnership between Pakistan and its people is in the vital self interest of the United States of American and, I would argue... in the vital self interest of Pakistan as well," he told reporters.
The United States wants Pakistan's military to do more to combat extremist on its border and to launch a ground offensive in the border region of North Waziristan, where it says key Taliban leaders reside.
Biden delivered his message before leaving for a key meeting with army chief General Ashfaq Kayani.