Gates says militant havens in Pakistan remain "a major threat" to Afghanistan

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Kandahar City, Sept 4 (ANI): US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said that the terrorists operating out of safe havens in Pakistan remain "a major threat" to Afghanistan, but cooperation between NATO-led forces and the Pakistani military has stepped up.

"Cooperation between the two is increasing and everybody understands that the sanctuaries on the other side of the border are a big problem," the Daily Times quoted Gates as saying.

Gates said that he and Afghan President Hamid Karzai had built a consensus on the need to increase cooperation between the ISAF and the Pakistani military to "get rid of" insurgent sanctuaries.

However, he added that probability of direct US military engagement in Pakistan was "very low."

Gates also expressed concern that the Pakistan Army might have to delay military operations in North Waziristan due to floods.

"But I think the solution here is the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Afghan, Pakistani cooperation to take care of these targets," he said.

The Haqqani network, an insurgent group closely allied with the Taliban, dominates the tribal areas of North Waziristan. (ANI)

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