US defends increase in drone attacks in Pak's tribal areas
Washington: As the CIA ramped up the
drone attacks against terrorist targets in Pakistan's tribal
areas, Special US envoy for Af-Pak Richard Holbrooke has
defended the move, saying the region bordering Afghanistan is
one of the most dangerous parts of the world.
"Those are the people who trained the Times Square
bomber. Al-Qaeda is sitting up there. The Afghan Taliban and
the Haqqani group are sitting up there, killing Americans,
attacking the Indian embassy," Holbrooke told the MSNBC in an
interview telecast late last night.
"Miranshah is one of the headquarters of one of the
groups that kills a lot of Americans. If you're in a war, you
can't kid yourself about it. I've seen a lot of wars. I hate
them more than anything you can imagine. But in this
particular case, as the President has said repeatedly, our own
homeland security is directly involved," he said.
"Then you have the LeT, another group, whose goal is
to provoke a conflict between India and Pakistan and who did
the Mumbai bombing. This is a reason why this is the most
dangerous area on earth to stability," he said.
One of the big mistakes of the previous
administration, Holbrooke said, was to treat Afghanistan and
Pakistan separately bureaucratically, in every part of the
"President-elect Obama and Hillary Clinton asked me to
combine Afghanistan and Pakistan on the civilian side. The
Pentagon followed suit; the CIA, the White House, other
governments," he noted.
"And now we recognize the interrelationship. We treat
Pakistan, as I said earlier, discussing the floods, as a great
sovereign country we have to deal with on its own merit, a
very difficult one with its own set of problems vis-a-vis
India, which I am not involved in directly," Holbrooke said.
"But in regard to what's happening in Afghanistan,
let's go back to first principles. There's no possible success
in Afghanistan unless the Pakistanis are part of the solution,
not part of the problem. That has been one of our major
focuses. And we worked very hard in trying to close the gap
between the two countries," Holbrooke said.