KABUL (Agencies) - Pakistan must do more to 'erase Taliban bases inside its territory which are destabilising the entire region, the US commander of Western troops in neighbouring Afghanistan said on Sunday. US Army General David McKiernan, who commands more than 70,000 US and NATO-led troops in Afghanistan, said he was confident the new troops would bring improvements in security to southern Afghanistan this year after years of rising violence. But he described insecurity as a regional problem that could only be resolved by a stronger effort from Pakistans embattled government to tackle safe havens for militants. There must be an improved effort on the other side of the border against these safe havens that many of these insurgent groups operate from in Pakistan, he told a news conference. There are sanctuary areas that have existed for many years across the border. They feed terrorism and insecurity on both sides of the border, McKiernan said. I think it is safe to say there is an expectation that the government of Pakistan must erase these safe havens so that they are not a threat to their own country and the region. They will have the full support of the international community to do that. Challenges, generally, have increased in past years, Afghan Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak told the news conference in Kabul alongside the US commander. The level of enemy attacks have gone up, there are foreign combatants (in their ranks), the way they operate has become complex, they have access to better training and equipment. McKiernan said he would send most of the new US troops to southern provinces near Pakistan that have seen the greatest rise in instability, and he expected the influx to help. But he said he had no power to intervene on the Pakistani side of the border. Insecurity and instability is a regional problem and will require regional approaches, he said. McKiernan said the international force fighting an insurgency in Afghanistan faces a challenging year in 2009. McKiernan, head of both NATOs 62,000-strong International Strategic Assistance Force (ISAF) and the US-led coalition of 8,000 soldiers, also told the briefing he was 'not satisfied with security in Afghanistan. McKiernan said 2009 is going to be a year with definite challenges for our mission. There are many areas where we are not satisfied with, and the people are not satisfied with security and freedom of movement. Some areas inside Afghanistan are safe havens for the enemies of Afghanistan, he said. Challenges facing the international alliance in Afghanistan included drug production in southern and eastern parts of the country, where the Taliban had a strong presence, the general said. We must do more together to fight this sickness that affects all of the country, he said. We are committed to breaking the connection between drugs trade and insurgency, McKiernan said. In addition to fighting safe havens within Afghanistan, he also called for 'an improved effort on the other side of the border, against militants safe havens in Pakistans tribal areas. The Taliban have increased their attacks both from within Afghanistan and from Pakistan, obliging the United States to increase its military presence in Afghanistan.