Published December 23, 2015
If he found Mullah Omar or another top terror leader in Pakistan, he'd be willing to plan another military mission to take him out, President Obama told British television in an interview recorded ahead of his trip to Europe.
Obama said even though the Pakistanis were extremely upset by the U.S. SEAL operation that took place May 2 on their territory, he's been clear to them that his No. 1 job is to secure the United States from threats.
"We are very respectful of the sovereignty of Pakistan, but we cannot allow someone who is actively planning to kill our people or our our allies' people we can't allow those kind of active plans to come to fruition without us taking some action," Obama told the BBC.
"But I had made no secret. I had said this when I was running for the presidency, that if I had a clear shot at bin Laden that we'd take it," he said. "We can't allow those kind of active plans to come to fruition without us taking some action."
Obama said he knew the raid could have gone badly, and he called it the longest 40 minutes he ever wanted to experience in his presidency.
Obama said if Pakistan could focus on reducing the homegrown terror threat, it would benefit from intelligence operations like the one that ended with bin Laden's killing.
"We've killed more terrorists on Pakistani soil than anywhere else, and that could not have been done without their co-operation. But there's more work to do. And my expectation is, is that over the coming months, this can be a wake-up call where we start seeing a more effective co-operative relationship," he said.
"If we don't go after these networks that are willing to blow up police stations, blow up crowds of people, assassinate Pakistani elected officials with impunity -- if they don't get a handle on that then they're gonna see a significant destabilization of the country," he said.
Obama added that it may be time to make a deal with the Taliban to bring it back into the fold, as long as it follows demands like cutting all ties to al Qaeda, renouncing violence and respecting the Afghan constitution.