Pentagon orders stepping up raids on terrorists in Pak to thwart any attack on US

September 29th, 2008 - 2:58 pm ICT by ANI  


London , Sept 29 (ANI): With the objective of thwarting any concerted attack form the Taliban or the Al Qaeda forces on the US ahead of the November 4 election, the Pentagon has reportedly ordered stepping up raids on suspected terrorist targets within Pakistan . The move would pressurise Al-Qaeda leaders and distract them from preparing attacks on American targets elsewhere.

The aim is to disrupt their scope for planning and keep their leaders on the move so that it is more difficult for them to coordinate complicated plots, The Sunday Telegraph quoted a senior US intelligence official as saying.

He added: The approach of the US election has fuelled fears that al-Qaeda or its allies, including the increasingly active Haqqani network, will seek a headline-grabbing strike against a symbolic American target such as an overseas embassy.

A senior US intelligence official said that Al-Qaeda was seeking to strike a major attack on an American target close to the election, to test the new president-elect. Their goal would not be to influence the election but merely to send a message that they are still a force to be reckoned with. They know that a successful attack in the election season will have maximum impact, and they want to give the new president the jitters, he added.

Any attack in the weeks before the Nov 4 election — what is known in American political circles as an October surprise would almost certainly give a decisive boost to John McCain, the Republican candidate who already holds a commanding lead on questions of national security, said the paper.

Last weeks devastating truck bomb attack on Islamabad s Marriott Hotel further highlighted security concerns in Pakistan . The level of sophistication and destruction was a message to the international community and the Pakistanis that we can pretty much hit you any place, any time, the paper quotes Seth Jones, a senior regional analyst with the Rand Corporation, a leading security think-tank as saying.

Jones said: The US has been increasingly aware that the command and control networks for groups such as Al Qaeda and its allies in the Haqqani network conducting attacks in Afghanistan are based in Pakistan .

Kamran Bokhari, Middle East director at Stratfor, an intelligence analysis company, said that the scale of the attack on the hotel involving up to 1000 kg of explosives was a clear indication that Al-Qaeda or its allies were involved. The hotel is in a very sensitive area. If they can hit the Marriott, why cant they hit courts or ministries or the prime minister’’s house? he added.

To tackle the insurgency in Afghanistan , you have to deal with what’’s happening in Pakistan , Bokhari said and added: Its not just the border now. Pakistan increasingly feels like a state under siege. (ANI)

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