WASHINGTON (AFP) - Washington and Islamabad have 'strong ties despite challenges in their relations, a State Department spokesman said Wednesday after news that CIA informants had been arrested in Pakistan. State Department spokesman Marc Toner would not comment on a report in the New York Times that five Pakistani informants, including an Army major, had assisted the CIA ahead of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. We have a strong relations with our Pakistani counterparts, we work through issues when they arise, Toner said. He said that since the May 2 raid on bin Ladens compound there has been 'an intensity of engagement that illustrates our commitment to working through these issues. Weve been upfront about challenges in the relationship but weve been also consistent in saying Pakistan and US need each other, he said.