After bin Laden, U.S.-Pakistan relations strained

(CBS News) WASHINGTON - Nearly a year after Navy SEALs killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden at his hideout in Pakistan, U.S.-Pakistan relations are cratering. CBS New correspondent Whit Johnson is watching developments.

The latest high-level talks to repair the battered relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan failed after two days, putting more strain on the Afghan war effort.

"Pakistan has a very important role to play for the peace in Afghanistan," said U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman.

But he left Islamabad with no agreement to reopen crucial cross-border supply routes. The routes have been closed since last November, when NATO airstrikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at a remote outpost.

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Pakistan has demanded a formal apology, but the Obama administration has refused, angered by militant groups operating from Pakistan and launching repeated attacks in Afghanistan -- like those on April 15th in Kabul and NATO targets in three provinces.

"This is the beginning of the re-engagement conversation. We're going to have to work through these issues and it's going to take some time," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

If there has been progress, it's been in America's war on al Qaeda, nearly a year after the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Senior counterterrorism officials tell CBS News that the number of Al Qaeda fighters in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region and in Iraq is "in the low hundreds." But activity has picked up in Yemen, home to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which "may number several thousand."

With the anniversary of bin Laden's death on Tuesday, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is making no apologies.

"The one thing all of us feel pretty good about that were involved in this operation is that, as a result of what we did, America is safer," said Panetta.

With that approaching anniversary, counterterrorism officials say they are monitoring Jihadist web sites for talk about possible attacks. But so far, the White House says there are no signs that any are in the works.

  • Whit Johnson

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