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VOA Exclusive: Defense Intelligence Director Hails Progress Against Militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan

'We have been very successful in our operations'

Washington, D.C., January 10, 2010 – Top defense intelligence official Lieutenant General Ronald Burgess says U.S. and Pakistani troops have successfully targeted al-Qaida and Taliban militants in both Afghanistan and Pakistan in an exclusive interview with the Voice of America (VOA).

"I think that we have been very successful in our operations," said General Burgess, head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). "But what we see happening with al-Qaida is that they still have the ability, working with the Taliban, to cause pain and to bring about some of the more spectacular events that may occur from time to time."

Burgess also said it remains unclear how much recent Pakistani military operations have reduced the threat to U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan.

"How many of the enemy has actually been taken off the board, so to speak?" Burgess asked. "Or has the enemy melted away into the countryside or moved to another location? While there is always something to be gained by forcing the enemy out of its sanctuary, at the end of the day, I think this is an enemy that you are going to have to kill."

Discussing the Dec. 30, 2009 suicide bombing at a CIA base near Khost, Afghanistan, Burgess said his agency is studying what lessons can be learned from the attack that killed seven CIA officers and a Jordanian intelligence official.

"What can we take from that and apply to our tactics, techniques, and procedures to ensure that we try to mitigate the possibility of something like that happening. But, you know, this is war," he said. The suicide bomber was a Jordanian medical doctor the CIA hoped to recruit as an agent.

DIA, part of the Department of Defense, produces foreign military intelligence for soldiers, defense policymakers and military planners that serve the Pentagon and the U.S. intelligence community. DIA has over 16,500 military and civilian employees.

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