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'Al-Qaeda leadership resides in Pakistan's tribal areas'

world Updated: Apr 04, 2009 15:43 IST

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Al-Qaeda's top leadership is hiding in Pakistan's troubled north-western tribal region, "harboured and supported" by the Taliban, a key US military commander has said, declaring that defeating the terrorist network is the principal focus of the Obama administration.

"Their leadership resides in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), the western border of Pakistan," said Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The Al-Qaeda leadership is "harboured, supported, given areas to rest and train by the Taliban," who move across that border freely, Mullen said in his address to the Hudson Union Club on Friday.

"While we have a democratically elected government in Afghanistan, it is very important that over the next couple of years for sure, we're able to turn around what is a trend of increased violence in security for the Afghan people so that they can essentially vote out and eliminate the Taliban from their country, as well," he added.