Washington, Jan 13 (IANS): Calling Pakistan as the "epicentre" of global terrorism, a top US military official has said that America can't succeed in Afghanistan unless terrorist safe havens in Pakistan are shut down.
"I've said it before and I'll say it again it [Pakistan] is the epicentre of terrorism in the world right now, and it deserves the attention of everybody to do as much as we can to eliminate that threat," Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff told foreign media on Wednesday.
"It is absolutely critical that the safe havens in Pakistan get shut down. We cannot succeed in Afghanistan without that," he said asserting "progress in Pakistan is critical in terms of the region.
"We cannot succeed in Afghanistan without that," said Mullen, noting he has had "many meetings" with Pakistan army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on the topic. "He has evolved his military against this threat, and this threat is evolving as well," Mullen said of Kayani's anti-terrorism strategy.
"It's not just Haqqani any more, or Al Qaeda, or . the Afghan Taliban or LeT [Lashkar-e-Taiba], it's all of them working together, in ways that two years ago they absolutely did not."
The reconciliation process, Mullen said, is focused on "getting to a point where Afghanistan is peaceful and stable, and can take control of its own life and move forward, in every respect."
"Since I've had this job I've never talked or wanted to leave the impression that it was about one country or the other, because it's about the region. I think progress there is critical as well."
Mullen said Pakistan's role in ensuring regional security remains critical. The recent assassination of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer and the departure and return of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement to Pakistan's ruling coalition government highlight some of the political challenges that country faces, he said. "That political aspect is something I keep an eye on all the time," Mullen said.
"When I talk about the region, it isn't just Afghanistan and Pakistan," he said noting neighbours in the area include Russia, Iran and India.
"I think we all have responsibility and we all want to see this resolved as rapidly as possible. That is a call for action for everybody that's involved in this."