General: Pakistani help could defeat Afghan gang

AP News
Posted: Dec 08, 2009 4:13 PM

The top U.S. general in Afghanistan says the Taliban _ up to 27,000 fighters in the country's south _ is his main focus.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal says the insurgents are effective because they can dictate terms to the local population on the largely Pashtun area. The Taliban stronghold area will be the focus of the new U.S. surge of 30,000 forces.

But McChrystal told Congress on Tuesday that he is also focused on a separate enemy in Afghanistan.

The Haqqani (Huh-KHAN-ee) network of fighters are Afghans who direct the fight against U.S. forces in eastern Afghanistan from the Waziristan tribal region in Pakistan.

McChrystal says that if the Pakistan government became "intolerant" of the Haqqani network on its side of the border, his forces in Afghanistan could finish off the al-Qaida linked group.