ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the United States reaffirmed their commitment on Tuesday to fight militancy on Tuesday, a day after the killing of Osama bin Laden presented an opportunity to reconcile strained ties and find a solution to the Afghan conflict.
Pakistan has faced enormous international scrutiny since bin Laden was killed, not least over whether its military and intelligence agencies were unaware of the al Qaeda leader's location, or knew and failed to act.
Senior officials from the United States and Pakistan have sought to play down such concerns, saying bin Laden's killing was a "shared achievement", but the questions underscored the deep divisions between the two nations.
"This of course was the end of someone who was violently subverting democratic governments in the region," US special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Marc Grossman, told reporters after a three-way meeting also involving Afghanistan.
The killing of bin Laden could help smooth earlier tensions and coincides with a shake-up of Washington's senior security team which includes sending diplomatic heavyweight Ryan Crocker, a former US envoy to Pakistan, to Kabul.
"Change of heart moment"
Some analysts saw the killing at least as an opportunity to address existing relationships.
"Relationships with Pakistan -- both for the US and Afghanistan -- can still go both ways," Martine van Bijlert, co-director of the Afghanistan Analysts Netowrk, said in a blog.
"It depends on Pakistan's public stance and what kind of story all sides want to spin. There is the possibility to present this as another 'change of heart' moment," she said.
Grossman said bin Laden was "notorious for murderous acts against civilians that make him an enemy not only of the United States, but also of Afghanistan and Pakistan".
Officials, however, deflected questions about the bin Laden operation.
"Who did what is beside the point... this issue of Osama bin Laden is history," Pakistani foreign secretary Salman Bashir told a joint news conference in Islamabad.
"The main purpose of today's meeting was... to move towards a new beginning and I think that is what we stayed focused on, and that's important. I think we ought to look at our future," Bashir said.
Grossman said both sides wanted to move beyond recriminations and finger-pointing.
Bashir said Pakistan and the United States had "robust cooperation" to fight militancy that would continue.