The United States has said that fighting the Al-Qaeda in Pakistan is as critically important to the America as coming to terms with the terror network in Iraq.
"I could say a few things based on my two and half years in Pakistan, and that is the presence of Al-Qaeda in the Pakistan and Afghanistan border area is a major challenge to us," former American Ambassador to Pakistan Ryan Crocker said.
Crocker, the Bush administration's top diplomat in Baghdad, told lawmakers in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the course of an intensive and extensive session on the current course in Iraq.
Crocker was asked for his views on whether the United States is providing sufficient resources to address the threat posed by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb.
Democratic Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin asked Crocker, "How concerned are you about Al-Qaeda's safe haven in Pakistan?" to which the administration's top diplomat in Iraq replied, "We're all quite concerned."
"Which is more important to defeating Al-Qaeda, the situation in Afghanistan or that situation in Iraq," asked a persistent Senator Feingold.
"The challenges in confronting Al-Qaeda in the Pak-Afghan border area are immense, and they're complicated. I did not feel, from my perspective as ambassador to Pakistan, that the focus, the resources, the people needed to deal with that situation, weren't available or weren't there because of Iraq," Crocker responded.
"In my view, fighting Al-Qaeda is what's important; whatever front they're on," Ambassador Crocker added.