Pak-Afghan border epicentre of terrorism: US

Pak-Afghan border remains an "epicentre" of global terrorism, the US said on Thursday, as a top military official warned lawmakers of grave consequences of the collapse of the government of a nuclear capable Pakistan.

Updated: Mar 03, 2011, 13:06 PM IST

Washington: Pak-Afghan border remains an
"epicentre" of global terrorism, the US said on Thursday, as a top
military official warned lawmakers of grave consequences of
the collapse of the government of a nuclear capable Pakistan.

"The downside consequences of a nuclear-capable
Pakistan that -- whose government collapses and is then in the
hands of violent extremists or theocratic individuals is a
huge, huge danger, globally and certainly for us," Admiral
Mike Mullen Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said.
Testifying before the House Appropriations Committee`s
Defence Sub Committee, Mullen stressed on the need to have
increased dialogue with Pakistan because it is in the national
interest of the United States.

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, at the same said
that Pak-Afghan border remains the epicentre of terrorism.

"I believe we`ve got to continue to work that, we`ve
got to continue to invest in it. It`s not going to happen fast
enough for any of us, and our ability to work that has a
significant impact on what`s going to happen in Afghanistan as
well. So it is in fact working both sides," Mullen said.

In fact al Qaeda is in much tougher shape than it was
a year or two ago and some of the Taliban organisations are
certainly much more concerned about their future than they
were as recently as a year ago because we finally got the
resources right, we finally got the people right, we have the
strategy right, and we`re starting to turn," Mullen said.

"No one is more aware of who we`ve lost and the
people that we`ve lost. All of that said, we can`t do it
without having some level of legitimate government to pass
this off to, at the local level as well as at the national
level. So the challenge you lay out is certainly there.
We see that much more clearly than we did in the
past, including where`s the money going, how we`re auditing
contracts, et cetera.

I think we know what we have to do, and the question
is execution as we move ahead," Mullen said.

Gates said the US is in Afghanistan because it was
attacked out of Afghanistan.

"The Pakistani-Afghan border remains an epicenter of
terrorism that has the potential not only to destabilize the
entirety of Southeast and Southwest Asia, but also still
launch attacks against the United States," Gates said.

"So our strategy is not focused on the government of
Afghanistan. Our strategy is how do we defeat al Qaeda? How
do we prevent insurgent groups from overthrowing the
government of Afghanistan? And how do we degrade the
capabilities of the Taliban to the point where the Afghan
National Security Forces can sustain them and sustain their
security?" Gates said in his testimony.

PTI