Washington: Al Qaeda continues to have a safe haven inside Afghanistan and the Taliban still facilitates terrorists, the Pentagon said on Wednesday, a day after al Qaeda`s second in command in the war-torn country was killed.
"They have a safe haven there. Safe haven does not necessarily require a long term presence, just the place like where they feel that they can go," Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt John Kirby told reporters during an off camera news conference.
"We continue to believe that the Taliban continue to facilitate safe havens to terrorists if they had the opportunity to do so," Kirby said, a day after the death of Sakhr al-Taifi, al Qaeda`s second in command in Afghanistan, that has giving a major blow to the terrorist outfit in the war-torn country.
"We do know that they continue to seek safe haven there in Afghanistan...They are using it, which turned out to be not that safe," he said.
"General John Allen, Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, is focused on this issue and where and when we find them there we are going to take them out," Kirby said.
The Pentagon spokesman said the US is determined to prevent Afghanistan from becoming an al Qaeda safe haven again.
"One of the goals of the strategy in Afghanistan is to prevent the country from becoming a safe haven for al Qaeda again. So any number of al Qaeda in Afghanistan is a matter of concern. The idea is to be able to create a security environment there so that they can`t use Afghanistan as a safe haven," he said.
Responding to reporters` questions, Kirby said that the talks with Pakistan continue on reopening of ground lines of communication (GLOCs), which were closed after the November 26 incident in which 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed in a NATO cross border fire.
"GLOCs remain closed. We are pleased with the level of dialogue about this. Still working on it," he said.