“The best estimate is that [bin Laden] is somewhere in North Waziristan - sometimes on the Pakistani side of the border, sometimes on the Afghan side of the border,” National Security Adviser James Jones said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, “very, very rough mountainous area, generally ungoverned.
“And, we’re going to have to get after that to make sure that this very, very important symbol of what al Qaeda stands for is either once again on the run or captured or killed.”
“By, ‘we’re going to have to get after that,’ you mean a more determined, a more focused – some new effort to get him?,” queried CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.
“I think so. We need to make sure that the al Qaeda stronghold in North Waziristan, in that region – which is still actively planning operations, they’re targeting us and targeting our friends and allies – does not become a reality.”
Also Sunday on State of the Union, Jones said the U.S. was working with the Pakistani government to eliminate safe havens for the Taliban and al Qaeda in the eastern parts of Pakistan near the Afghan border.
“Probably the most important thing that we need to achieve strategically in the next three years is to work with our friends in Pakistan and make sure that these safe havens are eliminated.”
Jones also told King that eliminating the safe havens on the Pakistani side border would make it easier to secure the western parts of Afghanistan.
“If the safe havens [in Pakistan] stay, then the problem [in Afghanistan] is longer and more difficult.”
Asked whether the Pakistani military was committed to helping eliminate elements of the Afghani Taliban seeking refuge inside of Pakistan, Jones said the administration is coordinating closely with the Pakistani forces.
“We are working with the Pakistani authorities, the Pakistani military in an increasing atmosphere of trust and confidence,” Jones told King, “and the realization that these problems have to be tackled.
“This is a cancer in the region that affects not just Afghanistan. It affects Pakistan as well.”