WASHINGTON, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Capturing or killing al-Qaida mastermind Osama bin Laden is still a priority for the United States, David Petraeus, the general who commands all U.S. forces in Afghanistan, was quoted as saying Sunday.
Talking to NBC's "Meet the Press," Petraeus said bin Laden "remains an iconic figure and I think capturing or killing is still a very, very important task for all of those who are engaged in counter-terrorism around the world."
Petraeus said bin Laden is probably in extremely remote mountainous area between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and it took him several weeks to send out "a congratulatory message out or a message of condolence".
In the same interview, Petraeus also said the timetable of U.S. troops' withdrawal from Afghanistan will be driven by situation on the ground.
"Certainly, I am aware of the context within which I offer that advice," Petraeus said, "But that just informs the advice; it doesn't drive it. The situation on the ground drives it."
Obama has set July 2011 as a deadline to begin withdrawing troops. Petraeus said the challenge now is to demonstrate signs of progress.
Petraeus, who previously served as head of the U.S. Central Command, assumed command of U.S. Forces Afghanistan and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan last month.
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