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Monday, May 11, 2009

India faces risk of another terror strike: Obama aide

Washington: A top aide of U.S. President Barack Obama has warned of another “Mumbai-style” terror attack in India by the jihadist “Frankenstein monster,” which wants the Pakistan army to remain focussed on its western border and foil attempts to redeploy it in the restive tribal areas.

Bruce Riedel, a retired CIA expert, who helped formulate Mr. Obama’s Af-Pak policy, believes there is “serious risk” of another Mumbai-type terror attack so as to ratchet up tension between India and Pakistan and give the Pakistan army an excuse to maintain its forces on the western border.

In an interview to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Mr. Riedel said the jihadists in Pakistan, whom he termed the “Frankenstein monster” wanted the situation on the India- Pakistan front constantly boiling to divert the Pakistani India had shown remarkable restraint over the years, partly because they cannot figure out a viable military response that does not risk escalation to full-scale war.

“How longer that restraint will last before we have another attack remains to be seen.”

The interview, published on May 6 in the online edition of the Council on Foreign Relations, was taken before Mr. Obama met his Pakistan counterpart Asif Ali Zardari at a tri-lateral summit with Afghan President Hamid Karzai here.

Mr. Riedel also said Pakistan faced a growing coalescence of jihadist militant groups, not just in the tribal areas, but in the Punjab and in the major cities including Karachi.

“This is threatening the very survival of the Pakistani State as we have known it. It is not inevitable and it is not imminent, but there is a real possibility of a jihadist State emerging in Pakistan sometime in the future. And that has to be one of the worst nightmares American foreign policy could have to deal with,” he said. — PTI

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