Kabul, Nov 7 : US Central Command chief Gen David Petraeus has reportedly said that the US' missile strikes in Pakistan's Tribal Areas had killed three of the top 20 Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders in recent months.
He, however, did not identify the leaders who had been killed in such strikes.
Petraeus' statement is seen as a justification of the US strikes, especially in the wake of recent protests from Islamabad against such strikes, saying that they violated Pakistan's sovereignty.
In a recent meeting with Petraeus a couple of days ago, the Pakistani leadership had also told him that it was becoming more and more difficult for it to convince the Pakistani populace to let such strikes continue.
Describing the insurgents on both sides as a 'mutual enemy', Petraeus said in the case of Pakistan they represented 'an existential threat".
He said Afghanistan's government was looking at new initiatives to engage Afghan tribes in the fight against insurgents. "Afghanistan is a country in which support of the tribes, of the local communities, for the overall effort is essential," he said, and added: "Certainly there is a long tradition of working with the tribes in (Pakistan's) Tribal Areas and so it is very natural that they should engage those tribes and endeavour to get their assistance in confronting the extremists who have turned what used to be fairly peaceful areas into strongholds for individuals who . . . believe that they have the right to blow up other people who do not see the world the way they do."