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U.S. Military Chief Mullen Says Pakistan Safe Havens Still Pose Threat

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, addresses a press conference in Kabul on July 31.
The top United States military officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, says militant safe havens in Pakistan continue to pose a significant obstacle to achieving success in bringing long-term stability to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs Of Staff, spoke to journalists during a visit to Afghanistan on July 31.

He said the Obama administration continues to press Pakistani authorities to take steps to counter the Haqqani network and other militants that enjoy safe havens in Pakistan.

Mullen also said that while there is information that some of the Taliban leadership intends to "go back across the border" from Afghanistan to Pakistan for Ramadan, the actions of the militant group during the Islamic holy month are difficult to forecast.

"With respect to Ramadan, it is hard to predict what is going to happen," Mullen said. "Actually, I have certainly, in the last decade or so of my military career, I have not done well predicting anything, and so predicting what is going to happen next month [in August], I honestly don't know and we will have to see. I have no idea whether violence or attacks will go up or down."

Mullen said the Taliban appear to have been weakened in some areas, though he warned that the militants are still able to set off deadly improvised explosive devices and stage a limited number of what Mullen called "spectacular attacks."

compiled from agency reports