Terror outfits are real cancer in Pak: Brennan

John Brennan said Pakistan has a challenge to eradicate terror forces within its borders.

Washington: Militant organisations are "real cancer" within Pakistan and the nation has a challenge to eradicate terror forces within its borders, a top White House official said.

"My view is that there is a real cancer within Pakistan, from the standpoint of militant organisations," John Brennan, assistant to the US President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, said in his speech at the Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.

"Whether you`re talking about al Qaeda, whether you`re talking about the Pakistani Taliban or TTP, Haqqani group, Lashkar-e-Toiba, others, there is I think a general recognition in the United States as well as throughout the world, that Pakistan has a real challenge ahead of it to uproot and eradicate the forces of militancy within Pakistan," he said in response to a question.

The official said, "The Pakistani government and the Pakistani people have to be very honest with the challenge that they face domestically, that it is an area that has served as a training ground, as a launching pad to carry out attacks."

He said people of Pakistan are also victims of terror acts, which they witness on a "daily basis".

"Not just against other countries, against the United States -- against Pakistanis. You know, men, women and children on a daily basis in Pakistan are being horrifically murdered by these, you know, attacks, suicide attacks.
They`re anything but suicide; they`re homicide attacks. They kill by the scores."

Brennan hoped Pakistan government and other concerned institutions are going to become even more aggressive in taking the battle to the forces of militancy and terrorism.

"So this is something that I don`t know how many people in al Qaeda, in the senior leadership ranks, knew exactly where bin Laden was.”

"But he is someone who knew that if he, you know, let it be known of his whereabouts, you know, his days were going to be numbered. I think he was -- he became, then, confident and relaxed in Abbottabad.”

"I think he was totally taken by surprise when our brave SEALs confronted him that night," Brennan said.

"So again, I have not seen anything (evidence of top Pak leadership knowing about it). This is one of the big questions that we had right away and we raised it at the senior-most levels of the Pakistani government. They tried to figure out the same thing: you know, what gives. But, you know, Pakistan is a large country," the official said.

He said, "It`s one of their lessons learned right now in terms of what they need to do to make sure that they`re aware of what`s happening in places like Abbottabad. Doesn`t mean that all these miscreants are hiding in a cave somewhere in Waziristan. There have been individuals in the past from al Qaeda that have used Abbottabad as a transit point from Islamabad into Waziristan."