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'Uproot safe havens for terrorists in Pak'

world Updated: Jun 11, 2011 00:23 IST
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Leon Panetta, the man to take over as America's next defence secretary has said that the war against terrorism in Afghanistan can only be won if the terrorist safe havens are uprooted inside Pakistan.

"We can only win in Afghanistan if we can win in Pakistan by reducing those safe havens. The two go hand in hand," Panetta told US lawmakers at his confirmation hearing.

Acknowledging that there is a level of distrust between the US and Pakistan, the CIA chief said, "We have to continually work at that. We have to work at developing a relationship of trust with the Pakistanis. I don't know that we're totally there yet."

"But there are a number of areas where, frankly, we don't have that level of trust or communication capability. It is in the interests of both countries to have a trusting relationship, because terrorism is an enemy not just for the United States, it's an enemy for Pakistan," he said.

The CIA Director reiterated that at this point of time, there is no intelligence to indicate that the top Pakistani leadership has had information about Osama bin Laden.

"But I do believe that Pakistanis are conducting several investigations at different levels to try to investigate what took place and it is important to see what the results of those investigations are," he said.

Panetta said there is no question that the death of Osama bin Laden has impacted on al Qaeda.

"He was the spiritual leader of al Qaeda.. but they still remain dangerous... One of the concerns is that we do have to pay attention to these nodes that are developing where al-Qaida has moved some of its operations, places like Yemen, Somalia, North Africa," he said.