The head of the US Central Intelligence Agency says al-Qaida has established a safe haven in Pakistan's border areas, presenting a clear and present danger to the region and to the United States.
CIA director Michael Hayden said on US television (NBC's "Meet the Press") Sunday that the development took place over the past 18 months. He also said al-Qaida is training Western-looking operatives who could pass easily through US borders.
His interviewer asked if the United States is stepping up attacks against al-Qaida suspects in Pakistani border regions near Afghanistan, as reported by a US newspaper last week. Hayden said he could neither confirm nor deny that story.
A spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban told Reuters news agency today that his group welcomes the willingness of Pakistan's new government to negotiate peace in tribal areas, but he vowed the fight against US forces in Afghanistan will continue.