Washington, Sept 24 : US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has said that the greatest threat of terrorism against the US came from the Tribal Areas of Pakistan.
"If you asked me today where the greatest threat to the homeland lies, I would tell you it's in western Pakistan," the Daily Times quoted Gates as telling a US Congressional panel.
In the recent past too, US officials have said that Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters used Pakistan's Tribal Areas a safe haven to launch attacks inside Afghanistan and plot against the US.
He advised Washington to support the Pakistani democratic government and encourage Afghanistan and Pakistan to work together to secure their border by depriving terrorists of safe havens. "Until the insurgency is deprived of safe-havens, insecurity and violence will persist," Gates said.
Gates said that Pakistan must deliver economic, medical and educational aid to its citizens in the Tribal Areas along the border, and called for more border control centres that could be staffed jointly by Afghan, Pakistani and NATO troops.
Laying stress on the need for better relations between Islamabad and Kabul, he said that any deterioration would be a setback for both countries. "The war on terror started in this region. It must end there," said the Defence Secretary.