Friday, January 29, 2010

Steve Coll: India facing high risk of Qaeda attack

Indian Express:

Posted online: Friday , Jan 29, 2010 at 0836 hrs

New Delhi : India is at greatest danger from being the target of the next attack from al-Qaeda or one of its several splinter groups, particularly those operating from Pakistan, the head of a prominent US think-tank has said.

Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and now president of the New America Foundation Steve Coll said that India-focused terrorist organisations operating from Pakistan had been successful in recruiting “talented operatives from educated classes and urban centres” and were much more powerful than their sister organisations fighting on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

“India-focused groups such as Lashkar, having enjoyed collaborative support from the Pakistani state for so many years, are larger... (its) ranks include scores of volunteer doctors and other post-graduate professionals,” Coll said.

Coll, a former managing editor of The Washington Post, was speaking on al-Qaeda and the US Policy.

“If one of these sub-networks (of al-Qaeda) did carry out a spectacular attack, the overwhelming likelihood is that it would be directed against India, which would again raise the spectre of disruptive military conflict, undermining US efforts in Afghanistan,” he said.

Coll incidentally had expressed similar fears about India in a recent interview with The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta for NDTV’s Walk the Talk.

“The potential of these India-focused groups, with or without clandestine collaboration by Pakistani security forces or AQ (al-Qaeda) central, to repeat or exceed the scale of the provocative attack carried out in Mumbai on November 26, 2008, presents, in my judgment, one of the most serious current threats to the US interests in the complex of risks and dangers posed by al-Qaeda,” he told the US lawmakers.

Put 26/11 accused on trial: PC to Pakistan

New Delhi: Union Home Minister P Chidambaram has said India would have no option but to conclude that Pakistan was “dragging its feet” on bringing perpetrators of Mumbai attacks to justice if it failed to put the accused in the case on trial. Meanwhile, Chidambaram could visit Islamabad next month to attend the SAARC Home Ministers’ conference. “An invitation has been received, but no decision has been taken yet,” a Home Ministry official said. Sources said a final call on whether Chidambaram visits Pakistan to attend the three-day conference, which begins on February 20, will be taken “with the concurrence of the External Affairs Ministry”. ENS


Epaminondas said...

Steve Coll is THE MAN

Ghost Wars is totally definitive

midnight rider said...

I read a good bit of that when it first came out (A.D.D. getting worse as I get older). It is very good indeed.