Petraeus: Commitment to War Effort Will Stand Firm, Regardless of Who Wins Presidency

ISLAMABAD -- As Americans went to the polls Tuesday to chose the next president, Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in charge of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, said that whatever the outcome, the U.S. will continue its commitment to battling Al Qaeda.

"Both candidates have been clear about the priority they place [on the war on terror]. So there is truly bipartisan support for [what] I think can be described as a sustained and substantial commitment to Pakistan and Afghanistan," Petraeus told FOX News.

Petraeus traveled to Pakistan -- a key U.S. ally in the war on terror --for talks with President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and other leaders.

Relations between the U.S. and Pakistan have been strained in recent months over a series of suspected U.S. missile strikes against Taliban and Al Qaeda insurgents hiding in Pakistan's border tribal regions.

On Tuesday, Gilani warned that the next U.S. president must halt the strikes or risk losing the war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Barack Obama has said that, if elected, he could launch unilateral attacks on high-value terrorist targets in Pakistan if it "cannot or will not act" against Al Qaeda. John McCain said that attacks shouldn't be discussed "out loud," but he has not said he disagrees with Obama.

Petraeus told FOX News that the suspected strikes in the tribal areas were discussed in Monday's meetings, but he gave no details. Nor would he say whether the U.S. was behind the attacks.

But he did say that Pakistan has made progress on combating the growing violence.

"There are current and future plans that will be executed in the future. It's quite a coherent and well-thought through plan. Although in certain cases there are additional resources required,"  Petraeus said.

He continued on to Kabul Tuesday as part of an "initial assessment" of the Afghanistan war. It is his first trip to the country since he became chief of Central Command on Friday, an appointment that put him in charge of the U.S.-led wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

Petraeus is expected to meet with Afghan leaders and top U.S. military commanders, including U.S. Gen. David McKiernan, the head of the NATO-led force, to discuss the growing Taliban insurgency.

McKiernan has requested at least three more brigades to add to the 32,000 troops already stationed in Afghanistan -- a move both McCain and Obama support.

There are also discussions by the Bush administration of entering into talks with certain Taliban leaders. Petraeus employed a similar strategy in Iraq to persuade tribal leaders to resist Al Qaeda elements. No decision has been made, and it will be up to Obama or McCain to decide whether to go ahead. Petraus said that the decision to meet with the Taliban will also be contingent on cooperation with Pakistan.

"Let me be very clear. First of all, this is an issue for the Pakistani government," he said. "It is one that Secretary Gates, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and I have said that this is conceivable when you are dealing with a significant enemy challenge.

"Over time, one wants to separate the irreconcilables from those who can be reconcilable from part of the problem to part of the solution."

Increasing violence in Afghanistan was a key election issue in the race for the White House. According to the Defense Department, at least 554 U.S. military personnel have died in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan as a result of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.

FOX News correspondent Scott Heidler and the Associated Press contributed to this report.