Major General David
Rodriguez: Taliban, al-Qaida Work Together in Pakistan
By Al Pessin
24 January 2008
A senior U.S. commander in Afghanistan says Taliban and al-Qaida forces
in the Pakistan border area are turning their attention more toward
Pakistan, and are working together to hit Pakistani forces. Major
General David Rodriguez spoke to reporters at the Pentagon Wednesday.
Combined Joint Task Force 82 and Regional Command East, Afghanistan Maj.
Gen. David M. Rodriguez, U.S. Army, calls on a reporter during a press
briefing in the Pentagon on Jan. 23, 2008. Rodriguez is updating
reporters on the latest developments in the fight against the Taliban in
says better security in his area of eastern Afghanistan, and increased
turmoil in nearby areas of Pakistan, have led Taliban and al-Qaida
groups based in the border area to focus on Pakistan and work together
more than in the past.
"Many of them, we have seen over the last year, are coordinating with
each other more based on their short term goals, rather than their long
term goals, which are not necessarily the same," he said. "So, I think
that they will move to where the best opportunity is to get the highest
payoff. Right not, that probably seems to be in Pakistan, based on what
is going on in the last couple of months here."
Pakistan has experienced increased insurgent violence particularly in
the Swat Valley, north of Islamabad.
"They are doing more coordination and more training off of everything
from resources to intelligence and technical expertise and things like
that, yes, that is shared a lot more than it has been in the past," said
General Rodriguez says the insurgent focus on Pakistan has contributed
to a drop in infiltrations across the border into Afghanistan, and could
mean the insurgents will not launch much of a spring offensive in
Eastern Afghanistan this year.
General Rodriguez and other U.S. officials say the increase in attacks
inside Pakistan is convincing Pakistani military leaders that they have
to deal with the Taliban and al-Qaida threat, which had been seen as
aimed mainly at Afghanistan.
General Rodriguez says Pakistani military officers are beginning to
"They are working, for example, to develop a better capacity to do
counterinsurgency operations, like many other nations are, because that
has not been their forte and what they have been trained on as a major
focus here, but they are adjusting their military now to do those
things," he said.
The general says the United States is helping with coordination and
information sharing, but no U.S. involvement inside Pakistan is being
Regarding his area of responsibility in northeastern Afghanistan, where
security has improved over the last year, General Rodriguez says he
expects several thousand more Afghan soldiers to be ready to join the
fight in the coming months. He says he does not need any more U.S. or
NATO combat troops, but he does need 800 trainers for the Afghan police.
He hopes to get some of the one thousand U.S. marine trainers whose
deployment to Afghanistan was announced last week.