The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff (search) said Wednesday that coalition forces in Iraq were gathering critical intelligence on Usama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network.
Gen. Richard B. Myers also told reporters at Bagram Air Base, the headquarters of coalition forces in Afghanistan, that the Iraq conflict had not diverted resources away from the war on terror.
"People should be assured there has not been any lessening of our ability to go after the Al Qaeda because of the operations in Iraq," Myers said.
"In fact, just the opposite - we're getting very good intelligence from operations in Iraq on the Al Qaeda and it's been very helpful in understanding the network and tracking down some of the leadership."
Myers declined to give details but suggested some of the intelligence was gained from Ansar al-Islam, a radical group in northeastern Iraq that U.S. officials believe has links to Al Qaeda. He said the group was still active inside Iraq.
"What we're doing here in Afghanistan and what we're doing in Iraq is in many cases the same thing. We're denying terrorists sanctuaries where they can operate and where they can train and we're denying terrorists getting their hands on weapons of mass destruction, and that's what this is all about."
Myers is on a visit to the Middle East and Asia that has already taken him to Qatar, Iraq, India and Pakistan.
He is due to leave Afghanistan later Wednesday after holding talks with President Hamid Karzai and Defense Minister Mohammed Fahim.