WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US military chief has hailed “the elimination” of a top Al-Qaeda leader in an air strike in Pakistan and said the United States will work with Pakistan to go after others in border safe havens.
“I think the strike was a very important one, a very lethal one,” said Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Friday.
Mullen, who said he will travel soon to Islamabad to meet with Pakistani leaders, would not comment on the specifics of the operation that killed Abu Laith al-Libi early Tuesday in Pakistan’s north Waziristan tribal area.
Pakistani officials said a US-operated Predator drone launched the attack, killing al-Libi and a dozen other militants in a compound.
Describing al-Libi as a key Al-Qaeda figure, Mullen said “the elimination of someone like that is a very important outcome in terms of this long war.”
But he said the United States remains concerned about the safe havens that Al-Qaeda has managed to established in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.
“Being able to have an impact in the safe haven I think is important. We’re very committed to working with the Pakistanis on this.
“It’s one of the reasons I’m going to see General Kiyani and the rest of the leadership,” he told reporters, referring to Pakistan’s new armed forces chief General Ashfaq Kiyani.