WASHINGTON - A former commander of US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan on Sunday underscored the need for devising a long-term strategy for the war-torn country's future, stating a stable Afghanistan is important to Pakistan and the region.

“I think what we what we want to do, what our strategy is, ought to be what we are talking about now rather than just the numbers of forces there," retired General Stanley McChrystal said on American television.

“My question on the future would be what do we want in the region. This is not just a case of al Qaeda was in Afghanistan. Now they largely are not. It is a question of the future of the region. The future of Afghan people also the stability in the region," he said on CBS new programme Face the Nation.

“I personally believe that the region matters. Afghanistan cannot be viewed in isolation for Pakistan or even Iran or the other neighbouring countries," he said.

“So If for example, if there was an ungoverned area in Afghanistan or there was a Taliban state, I think Pakistan’s very stability, now with the insurgency in Pakistan strong, will really be threatened and nuclear armed Pakistan in a threatened position would be a real challenge."

Questioned about the impact on Pakistan, McChrystal said, “I think that it is our long term strategy what we have to be talking about. What makes Pakistan act they way they do- their relationship with India the issue over places like Kashmir. What motivates their thinking, what is the direction of Pakistani actions.”

“Part of that is impacted by what we do in future in Afghanistan. I believe a stable Afghanistan is important to Pakistan I think it is important to the region,” he added.