Acknowledging that terrorist outfits are becoming more linked with each other which could lead to the revival of al-Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, a U.S. military commander has underlined the need for a “combination of efforts” to prevent them from regaining the “epicentre“.
“I would say it (AfPak) is the epicentre of terrorism right now. It’s very clear that in fact al-Qaeda is diminished while it’s living in Pakistan, and this is a Pakistan-Afghanistan issue. They are by no means dead,” Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Congressional hearing.
“It’s a very serious threat. And that if we allow the Taliban to take control and run Afghanistan again, I think the likelihood that their return to that safe haven would be high,” Adm. Mullen said.
He said if Afghanistan has a strong enough government and security, it can prevent al-Qaeda from coming back. “And that doesn’t include — at least, clearly, it doesn’t include the Taliban under their current leadership,” he said.
“And the ‘defeat al-Qaeda’ piece — and it does focus on al-Qaeda, but these terrorists and extremists, particularly in recent years, have become much more linked. So yes, it’s al-Qaeda, but it’s also the Taliban; it’s also LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba); it’s also TTP(Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan), it’s JuD (Jamaat-ud-Dawa), it’s JeM (Jaish-e-Mohammad), and all of them have the same kind of outlook,” he said.
Keywords: AfPak, al-Qaeda, Taliban, Admiral Mike Mullen, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Congressional hearing, LeT, Lashkar-e-Taiban, ) TTP, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, JuD, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, JeM, Jaish-e-Mohammad