Addressing a meeting here, Gate said, "Al-Qaeda is supportive of Lashkar-e-Taiba.... Al-Qaeda is providing them with targeting information and helping them in their plotting in India, clearly with the idea of provoking a conflict between India and Pakistan that would destabilise Pakistan."
"Al Qaeda provides them with technical information, provides them with operational information and support," he said.
Gates said they are supporting all of these different groups in ways that are destabilising not just for Afghanistan but for the entire region.
"Al Qaeda is at the heart of it. And whether or not the terrorists are homegrown, when we trace their roots, they almost all end up back in this border area of Afghanistan and Pakistan, whether they're from the United States or Somalia or the United Kingdom or elsewhere," he said.
"So what we see is al Qaeda, despite their being under pressure and despite their limited numbers and despite the fact that there are few of them in Afghanistan right now, that they are taking advantage of the situation in the region to play a very destabilising and dangerous role," Gates added.