Pak may increase support to terror groups after US drawdown

Last Updated: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 - 16:11

Washington: A premature withdrawal of the
United States from Afghanistan would only encourage Pakistan
to continue with its policy to support the terrorist groups,
an American think-tanks has said.

"I suspect that a precipitous American drawdown will
encourage Afghanistan`s neighbours, including Pakistan, to
increase their support levels to Afghan insurgent groups, the
Haqqani network and Taliban, as a bulwark against a perceived
Indian-Afghan axis in Afghanistan," said Seth Jones, senior
political scientist at the Rand Corporation.

Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee on the transition in Afghanistan, Jones said his
concern right now is with senior al Qaeda leadership, from
Zawahiri to Ilyas Kashmiri, Abu Yahya al-Libi and others.

"That is a concern," he told Senators at the hearing
convened by Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee.

David Kilcullen, president and CEO of Caerus
Associates, said that Afghanistan is no longer an epicenter of
terrorism.

"It`s highly unlikely that we would see a terrorist
attack on t

he United States emanating from Afghanistan," he
said.

"The risk is somewhat different, in my view. It`s that
instability in Afghanistan contributes to a regional patent of
instability, and that can undermine the stability of Pakistan,
and that can significantly raise the threat," he noted.

"It`s isn`t just the threat of terrorism. It`s also
the threat of nuclear confrontation with India, of state
collapse and of a variety of other problems associated with
changes in the security environment in Pakistan," he said,
adding that there are slim chances that al Qaeda would move
back to Afghanistan and set up a base if the US were to leave.

"What`s much more likely is that there would be
increased asset available to both the Pakistani/Afghan
Taliban. There would be an increased reason for an alliance
between those groups and many terrorist organizations," he
argued.

In his remarks, Kerry said the Obama Administration
needs to send a clear signal with respect to the direction on
the reconciliation efforts.

"Our lack of clarity has perhaps caused Afghanistan
and Pakistan and many other players to persistently hedge
their bets and plan for the worst rather than the best," he
said.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 - 16:11

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