Thursday, March 01, 2007


Next attack on US likely out of Pak'

February 28, 2007 11:15 IST

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A top United States Intelligence official has said that the next attack on America could come out of the Al Qaeda organised in Pakistan, saying President Pervez Musharraf needs to do more to come to terms with the terror outfits trying to 'rebuild' in the country.

On being asked whether an attack on the US could come from terror outfits based in Iraq or Pakistan, National Intelligence Director Admiral Mike McConnell told the Senate Armed Services Committee, "My belief is the attack most likely will be planned and come out of the leadership (Al Qaeda) in Pakistan."

"The camps that have been established in Pakistan are in an area that has never been governed by any power, a state or outside power, in that region because it is such rugged country and fierce individual tribal interests. And so to the best of our knowledge the senior leadership, number one and number two, are there, and they are attempting to re-establish and rebuild and to establish training camps," McConnel said.

The top intelligence official told lawmakers Pakistan could do more in coming to terms with the Al Qaeda and the Taliban and the purpose of the visit of the US Vice-President

Dick Cheney to Islamabad was to impress upon the fact that it has to be 'more aggressive' in going after it.

"We believe they could do more. And the issue of being elected for the next term is the issue that that the Pakistan President is wresting with," McConnell said.

McConnell said with the signing of the agreement with the tribal leaders in the frontier area, the 'capabilities of Al Qaeda for training and so on increased. Therefore, the vice president's visit and others visit (is) to make the case that we have to be more aggressive in going after Al Qaeda in Pakistan. The balancing act, of course, is the President's standing in that country with an election coming up this fall."

In his opening remarks, Senate Panel Chairman Carl Levin hammered Pakistan, including making a reference to terrorism across the border with India.

"In Afghanistan, the resurgence of the Taliban, the deteriorating security situation and the flourishing sanctuary across the border in Pakistan drive home the fragile hold that we have in this volatile region.

"Long-term prospects for eliminating the Taliban threat appear dim so long as the sanctuary remains in Pakistan, and there are no encouraging signs that Pakistan is eliminating it," the top Democrat from Michigan said.

"Pakistan is an ally in the war on terrorism, but, as Director McConnell's prepared statement emphasizes, it is a major source of Islamic extremism; it is a sanctuary for Al Qaeda, the Taliban and extremist operating against India over Kashmir; and a past and potential future source of dangerous nuclear proliferation," he added.


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