Senators bring bill to designate Pak Taliban as terror outfit

Last Updated: Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - 12:20

Washington: A group of US senators today
introduced a legislation in the Senate to brand the Pakistani
Taliban, linked to the botched Times Square bombing attempt,
as a foreign terrorist organisation.

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is so far not listed
as a terror group by the US State Department.

The four powerful Senators, who introduced the bill in
the Senate, said that it has become very urgent that TTP be
declared a foreign terrorist organisation in the after math of
Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square bomb suspect, pleading guilty
and conceding the role of Pakistani Taliban in the planning
and execution of the entire failed attack.

"It`s time to turn up the heat on this terrorist
organisation, and the FTO gives us a quick, ready and proven
way to do it," said Senator Charles Schumer at a news
conference soon after the legislation was introduced in the
Senate.

Other Congressmen who co-sponsored the legislation
were Robert Menendez, Kirsten Gillibrand and Frank R
Lautenberg.

Designating the Pakistani Taliban as an FTO is more
essential than ever, Schumer argued and hoped that the State
Department will speed up the process in this regard.

"For years, the Pakistani Taliban has been plotting
and scheming against the US. We know they run active training
camps where people, including Shahzad, learn how to carry out
terrorist attacks. They`ve publicly committed to killing
Americans. In a video that surfaced in April, they pledged to
make the US and its cities their main target," he said.

"Now that the Times Square terrorist has pleaded
guilty in court, it`s time to take the next step, by
confronting the organization that aided and abetted him. This
group poses an existential threat to the safety of not only
our soldiers fighting abroad, but also to American citizens
here at home. It`s time we dealt with this terrorist
organization with every tool at our disposal," Schumer said.

Observing that the Obama administration is determined
to disrupt, dismantle and defeat terrorist networks abroad; he
said passing this legislation is essential to protecting
Americans at home and abroad and to destabilizing the
Pakistani Taliban.

Menendez said the Times Square investigation has
proved that Pakistani Taliban has operational capacity to
launch terrorist attack into the US.

"This is the operational capacity, to actually come to
the United States, have a network, have resources, have money,
have training, and have somebody on American soil who could
act out in an operational capacity to effectuate their goal.

What more do we need? And how much longer do we have to wait
to come to that understanding?" Menendez asked.

"That`s why we`ve joined with Senator Schumer to
require the State Department to add the Tehreek-e-Taliban to
the department`s list of terrorist organizations. It`s a
necessary step. We cannot watch the April 2010 video from the
Pakistani Taliban in which they say they will make cities in
the United States a main target and not take the threat from
this group seriously, not call them what they are, terrorists,
pure and simple," he said.

"We know, according to the attorney general, that
the Tehreek-e- Taliban helped train and finance Shahzad, the
Times Square bomber. What more do we need to know? What more
of an indication do we need before we call them an
international terrorist group bent on killing Americans? I
think the time is past to recognize the obvious," he said.

Referring to the Attorney General`s statement that the
Pakistan Taliban agents that trained and funded Shahzad wanted
that bomb to explode and wanted it to explode to kill those
Americans, Gillibrand said: "So we need to make sure that we
keeping America safe is our number-one priority, and the TTP
organization that threatens the lives of Americans must be
designated now as a terrorist organization."

Responding to a question, Menendez fighting the
Pakistani Taliban is critical to the national security of
Pakistan.

"But whether they understand that or not, our job is
to protect American citizens regardless of who gets chagrined
by it," he said.

"This is a common enemy of the United States and
Pakistan, because the Pakistani government certainly does not
approve or condone this kind of activity in having an
operation that`s going to result in a bomb in Times Square,"
Gillibrand said.

"We work hand in glove with the Pakistani government,
and the Pakistani military is currently doing operations
against Pakistan Taliban today. So this is a common enemy that
we share, and so I do not think it will negatively impact our
relationship, because we are trying to really attack terrorism
on both fronts together," the Senator said.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - 12:20

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