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Al-Qaeda found 'safe haven' in Pak: US

world Updated: Oct 11, 2007 04:27 IST

Al-Qaeda has regenerated a "safe haven" in Pakistan's tribal areas, a latest US policy document has said, with a top American official blaming the failure of a peace agreement in the Afghan border area for the terror network regaining its strength there.

Since the 9/11 attacks, the US-led "war on terror" has deprived Al-Qaeda of its safe haven in Afghanistan, said the new "National Strategy for Homeland Security".

But, "the group has protected its top leadership, replenished operational lieutenants, and regenerated a safe haven in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas -- core capabilities that would help facilitate another attack on the homeland," the White House document said.

Frances Townsend, the senior White House official in charge of Homeland Security, however, told the media in Washington that there is nothing new in the report and Islamabad has been a valuable ally in the war against terror.

"That really echoes what was in the national intelligence estimate. That statement is not a new statement. We relied on the intelligence community's assessment in framing the threat for this strategy," he said about the evaluation when asked how Al-Qaeda had been able to do all these if Pakistan is being cooperative.

"There's no taking away from them (Pakistan). They've also suffered the loss of life in confronting Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in the tribal region," Towsend said.

"I have said repeatedly that the peace agreement with the tribals in Pakistan failed Pakistan and it failed us. And obviously, that's one of the fundamental things that Al-Qaeda took advantage of to reestablish a safe haven in the tribal areas," the official said.