GATES: It is because in that border area, Afghan-Pakistani border, that is the epicenter of extremist jihad. And al Qaeda has close relationships with the Taliban in Afghanistan, and they have very close relationships with the Taliban in Pakistan.
The Taliban in Pakistan have been attacking Pakistani civilians, Pakistani government officials, military officials, trying to destabilize the government of Pakistan.
Any success by the Taliban in either Afghanistan or Pakistan benefits al Qaeda. And any safe haven on either side of the border creates opportunities for them to recruit, get new funds and do operational planning.
And what's more, the Taliban revival in the safe havens in western Pakistan is a lesson to al Qaeda that they can come back, if they are provided the kind of safe haven that the Taliban were.
This is the place where the jihadists defeated the Soviet Union, one superpower. And they believe -- their narrative is that it helped create the collapse of the Soviet Union. If they -- they believe that if they can defeat us in Afghanistan, that they then have the opportunity to defeat a second superpower.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you look at that...
GATES: And it creates huge opportunities for them in that area, as well as around the world.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You were the deputy director of the CIA back in 1985, when Gorbachev made the decision to expand. Eighteen months later, he was pulling out.
What's to prevent that from happening again?
GATES: Well, what he did was agree with his generals to make one last push.
But the parallel just doesn't work. The reality is, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. They killed a million Afghans. They made five million refugees out of Afghanis.
They were isolated in the world in terms of what they were doing there.
We are part of an alliance of 42 countries with us, in addition to us, that are contributing troops. We have a U.N. mandate. We have a mandate from NATO.
So, you have broad international support for what's going on in Afghanistan. And the situation is just completely different than was the case with the Soviet Union.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We're just about out of time.
Secretary Clinton, I want to ask you about the case of Amanda Knox, the American college student, who was convicted of murder in Italy, just on Friday.
Senator Cantwell of Washington has expressed a lot of concerns about this conviction. She said she wants to talk to you about it. Here's what she said.
I have serious questions about the Italian justice system and whether anti-Americanism tainted this trial. The prosecution did not present enough evidence for an impartial jury to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Ms. Knox was guilty. Italian jurors were not sequestered, and were allowed to view highly negative news coverage about Ms. Knox.
She goes on to lay out several of the concerns she had with the trial. She did say, as I said, she's going to be in contact with you, so you can express the concerns to the Italian government.
Do you share her concerns about this trial?
CLINTON: George, I honestly haven't had time to even examine that. I've been immersed in what we're doing in Afghanistan.
Of course, I'll meet with Senator Cantwell, or anyone who has a concern, but I can't offer any opinion about that at this time.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you have not expressed any concerns to the Italian government?
CLINTON: I have not, no.