Pak safe haven has turned Qaeda, Taliban combo into an out-of-control Frankenstein

September 11th, 2008 - 1:14 pm ICT by ANI  


Islamabad, Sept 11 (ANI): Over the past seven years after 9/11, al-Qaeda has spread its violent tentacles across Pakistan, while its ally the Taliban have staged a bloody comeback both in Pakistan and Afghanistan, said an article in the

It said that both al Qaeda and the Taliban have destabilized nuclear-armed Pakistan, and largely taken over its northwest fringe. Afghanistan has been sent into a tailspin of violence, even as al-Qaeda, having influence in Pakistan and Afghanistan, is planning terror strikes against the West.

Al-Qaeda has successfully colonized numerous other extremist groups in Pakistan, such as Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), which have cells across the country that it can use to carry out attacks. Some of these groups had, or retain, murky relationships with Pakistan’’s intelligence agencies, which means that al-Qaeda benefits from an element of state patronage.

Pakistan’’s ability to manage these groups has slipped from its grasp since its alliance with the US drove the militants into al-Qaeda’’s embrace. They [militant groups] have got out of control. A few of them are involved in sectarian activities, some of them are [fighting] in Kashmir, everything has been scattered. Officials are very disturbed, they have no strategy now for dealing with them, said Muhammed Amir Rana, director of the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies, an independent think tank in Islamabad.

Al-Qaeda today is as dangerous a threat as ever. It has a secure safe haven in Pakistan, a revived ally in the Taliban and can operate on a global basis. I think it remains a strategic threat, and those who argue it is not are underestimating it, the paper quoted former CIA officer Bruce Riedel, author of The Search for Al Qaeda, as saying.

Despite continuous American efforts to nab him, Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri remain at large, probably moving between Pakistan’’s tribal area and adjacent regions of Afghanistan, and they continue to use the news media to spread their message of hate.

The paper said that US President George W. Bush’’s announcement earlier this week that thousands more troops would be deployed to Afghanistan was an acknowledgment that the mission there is in peril.

Christine Fair, an analyst at Rand Corp., a private U.S. research organization, said: Weve eliminated a lot of important players in al-Qaeda but all those players have been substituted. There’’s no question that Pakistan is far less secure than before the launch of the global war on terrorism. It is unquestionable that we are failing in Afghanistan. The Taliban are expanding with alarming success.

The past seven years, after Islamabad joined Washingtons global fight against terror, have seen Pakistan experiencing attacks against its Army, ISI intelligence agency and the Frontier Corps paramilitary force that patrols the tribal belt. Such attacks became possible regional Islamic extremist groups in the country adopted al-Qaeda’’s ideology of global jihad targeting their own country, said the paper.

As a result, new militant groups, most notably Tehreek-i-Taliban (TTP), have developed in Pakistan. Pakistan’’s Interior Ministry chief has admitted that the TTP has been taken over by al-Qaeda. During the past year, Pakistan has been rocked by dozens of suicide bombings, more and deadlier assaults than seen even in Afghanistan. (ANI)

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