The top U.S. military officer says the U.S. offensive in Afghanistan could push Taliban and al-Qaida militants deeper into neighboring Pakistan.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, told U.S. lawmakers Thursday he is unsure of whether a U.S. troop build-up in Afghanistan could destabilize Pakistan. But he added U.S. and Pakistani officials are planning for any such possibility.
Mullen also said Pakistan is further away from being "totally destabilized than a lot of people realize."
During Thursday's Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Mullen expressed concern about the growing ties between Afghan and Pakistani Taliban.
He also said an upcoming increase of 21,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan will help in quelling the insurgency.
Mullen also said the opium trade, which helps fund the Taliban, must be eliminated in Afghanistan. He acknowledged the United States and its allies have had little success in doing so during the last eight years.