WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama declared Sunday American forces would not enter Pakistan in hot pursuit of militants across the Afghanistan border, but vowed to hold Pakistan accountable for its potential failure to act against them on its territory. The US President also said he will consult with Pakistan's leaders before pursuing terrorist safe heavens in that country. "I haven't changed my approach. If we have a high-value target within our sights, after consulting with Pakistan, we're going after them", Obama said in an interview broadcast on CBS "Face the Nation" programme. Obama taped the interview at White House Friday, the same day he launched the new strategy aimed at defeating Al-Qaeda terrorists in Pakistan and Afghanistan, widening a war that began after terrorists struck the US on Sept 11, 2001. The US President said the United States will give Pakistan the tools it needs to defeat Al-Qaeda, but it expects accountability in return. "What we want to do is to refocus attention on Al-Qaeda," Obama told CBS. "We are going to root out their networks, their bases. We are going to make sure that they cannot attack US citizens, US soil, US interests and our allies' interests around the world." To do that, Obama said, the US had to ensure Al-Qaeda could not find a base in Afghanistan or Pakistan from which they could organise their attacks. He said Washington also needed to convince average Pakistanis that the struggle with extremists was not just a US war. "One of the concerns that we've had building up over the last several years is a notion, I think, among the average Pakistani, that this is somehow America's war and they are not invested," Obama said. "What we want to do is say to the Pakistani people - you are our friends, you are our allies. We are going to give you the tools to defeat Al-Qaeda and to root out these safe havens, but we also expect some accountability," he said. Obama said he is conscious that dealing with extremism challenges in the region is going to be hard. The American President also played down reports, attributed to his administration officials, that Pakistani intelligence agencies were helping the Taliban. "Some of those reports aren't new. There are a whole host of contingencies that we've gotta deal with. I mean, this is gonna be hard... I'm under no illusions. If it was easy, it would have already been completed. And so we're gonna have to go with a strategy that is focused, that is narrowly targeted on defeating Al-Qaeda. We think that if you combine military, civilian, diplomatic, development approaches, if we are doing a much better job of coordinating with our allies, then we can be successful. "But we recognise there are gonna be a lot of hurdles between now and us finally having weakened Al-Qaeda or destroyed Al-Qaeda to the point there - it cannot, it doesn't pose a danger to us. And we will continue to monitor and adjust our strategies to make sure that we're not just going down blind alleys." The President said the situation in Afghanistan had been deteriorating in recent years, "and unless we get a handle on it now, we're going to be in trouble." Questioned if the US effort under the new strategy amounts to Obama's war in Afghanistan, he said: "I think it's America's war, it is the same war we initiated as a consequence to the attacks on 3000 Americans who were going about their daily works and that focus over the last seven years has been lost. We want to re-focus our attention on Al-Qaeda to root out their networks, their bases. We are going to make sure that they cannot attack on US citizens, US soil, US interests and our allies' interests around the world. "In order for us to do that we have to ensure that neither Afghanistan, nor Pakistan can serve as a safe haven for Al-Qaeda. Unfortunately over the last seven years, what we have seen is Al-Qaeda moving several miles from Afghanistan to Pakistan, but effectively still able to project their violence and hateful ideologies out into the world." Obama reaffirmed his Administration's resolve to foster a wide-ranging and steadfast partnership with the Pakistani people and strengthen its civilian government to confront the challenge. Obama said he is conscious that dealing with extremism challenges in the region is going to be hard. "(W)e expect that you (Pakistani people) understand the severity and nature of the threat. "In addition, we want to do is, to help Pakistan grow its economy, to be able to provide basic services to its people and that I think will help strengthen those efforts. If the Pakistan government has no credibility, if they are weakened, then it is going to be much more difficult for them to deal with extremism within their borders." He said he would urge Congress on support for significant expansion in US aid for Pakistan. Agencies add: US President Obama said US forces would launch strikes on militant targets inside Pakistan if necessary. He demanded Islamabad hold up its end of the anti-terror struggle. The main thrust of US policy was "to help Pakistan defeat these extremists", he stated. Obama attacked the notion "among the average Pakistanis that this is somehow America's war and that they are not invested." "And that attitude I think has led to a steady creep of extremism in Pakistan that is the greatest threat to the stability of the Pakistan government, and ultimately the greatest threat to the Pakistani people. He argued that a tripling of US aid would also strengthen Pakistan's economy and basic services, and so erode support for terrorism. He said he won't assume that more troops will result in an improved situation. "There may be a point of diminishing returns in terms of troop levels. We've gotta also make sure that our civilian efforts, our diplomatic efforts and our development efforts, are just as robustly encouraged." Obama agreed that things are worse than ever in Afghanistan, and then sought to clarify his point. "They're not worse than they were when the Taliban was in charge and Al-Qaeda was operating with impunity," Obama said. But, he added, "We have seen a deterioration over the last several years." "This is gonna be hard," Obama said. "I'm under no illusions. If it was easy, it would have already been completed." He also stressed the need to be flexible. He made clear that his new strategy for the long war is "not going to be an open-ended commitment of infinite resources" from the United States. On Iraq, Obama said he would not speed up troop withdrawals from Iraq, arguing the country was "moving in the right direction" but still needed US help. "No, I think the plan that we put forward in Iraq is the right one, which is let's have a very gradual withdrawal schedule through the national elections in Iraq," he said. "There's still work to be done on the political side, to resolve differences between the various sectarian groups around issues like oil, around issues like provincial elections," Obama said. "I'm confident that we're moving in the right direction. But Iraq is not yet completed. We still have a lot of work to do," he said. "We still have a lot of training of Iraqi forces to improve their capacity. I'm confident, though, that we're moving in the right direction."