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Afghan-Pak border still a major safe haven for terrorists

The Pakistan, Afghanistan border is still a "major safe haven" for terrorists and clearing out Al Qaida and Taliban remains America's "bona fide" mission in the region, a powerful US Senator said on Sunday.

world Updated: Sep 13, 2009 23:30 IST

The Pakistan, Afghanistan border is still a "major safe haven" for terrorists and clearing out Al Qaida and Taliban remains America's "bona fide" mission in the region, a powerful US Senator said on Sunday.

"I can say and I think you would agree that Afghanistan and the Pakistani border are still the major safe haven, the major safe haven for terrorists in the world," Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, told the CNN in an interview.

She said the region remains crucial despite many of the Taliban commanders being eliminated recently, she said.

"These are people who will, if they can, come after us, not necessarily the Taliban, but certainly Al Qaida and other affiliated groups," she said on the current situation in the region.

As of now there are about 60,000 US troops in Afghanistan and 8,000 are moving in. With its allies, this equals the force that is in Iraq.

"I do believe that clearing out Al Qaida, clearing out the Taliban is a bona fide part one of the mission. I do agree that training Afghan troops, Afghan police is an important piece of the mission," Feinstein said, even as she indicated that the US has to reduce its goal with regard to Afghanistan.

"I do not believe we can build a democratic state in Afghanistan. I believe it will remain a tribal entity," she said.