"We cannot allow terrorists to have safe havens from which they launch attacks and kill our forces. We cannot allow that to happen. And we have to bring pressure on the Pakistanis to do their part to confront that issue," US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee.
Without elaborating the options that the US has on its table, Panetta told the lawmakers that America can't allow terrorist safe havens to operate in Pakistan from where carry out strikes against its personnel.
Testifying before the powerful Senate panel, Panetta identified it as one of the major challenge for the US in Afghanistan.
"I've made clear that we are going to do everything we have to do to defend our forces. I don't think it would be helpful to describe what those options would look like and talk about what operational steps we may or may not take," Panetta said in response to a question from Senator Carl Levin, Chairman of the Committee.
Panetta said the first order of business right now is to "put as much pressure on Pakistan as we can to deal with this issue from their side." He said Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has met with the Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and CIA Director David Petraeus met with ISI chief General Pasha over the issue.
"There's been a very clear message to them and to others that they must take steps to prevent the safe haven that the Haqqanis (terror network) are using," Panetta said.