Pakistan epicentre of terror: US think tank
Times of India
ANI [ THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2003 11:09:47 AM ]
WASHINGTON: A researcher at the US' think tank the Cato Institute has said that terrorists like Bin Laden are in plenty in Pakistan who can pose a threat to the US in the near future. He claims that this is not speculation but reality.
"In Pakistan, there are legions of bin Ladin followers, plenty of links between government officials and terrorists and nuclear weapons that could fall into the hands of anti-American terrorists. This is not speculation," The Daily Times quoted Leon Hadar as saying.
Hadar said that some evidence suggests that some Pakistani nuclear scientists are maintaining ties with al-Qaeda and other extremist Islamic groups. All this suggests that under various scenarios, Pakistan could turn into a nuclear-armed ally of al-Qaeda.
He advised that while the US administration should work with Pakistan in the economic arena, it should refrain from embracing President Musharraf's regime as an ally.
According to him, intelligence experts have gathered that Osama bin Ladin and other al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders may have found sanctuaries in the federally administered tribal areas in Pakistan.
According to the paper, Hadar wrote: "At the same time, some members of
the Pakistani security forces continue to provide assistance to Islamic militants
in Kashmir. Indeed, US officials admit that Musharraf has failed to crack down
on those who support the fighters in Kashmir, who threaten to ignite war
possibly one that could turn nuclear between Pakistan and India
The paper also quoted several news organisations saying that members of a resurgent Taliban are using Pakistan as a base for strikes against the US-backed government in Kabul.
According to these reports, the Taliban enjoy the support of Pashtun tribes as well as sympathetic Pakistani military officers led by the intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
He concluded that Pakistan and not Iraq remains a central stage
in America's continuing anti-terrorism campaign. By diverting scarce military
and economic resources to fight an unnecessary war in Iraq, Washington may have
weakened its ability to contain those who perpetrated the 9/11 terrorist acts
and their benefactors.