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Updated: September 16, 2009 11:46 IST

Terror groups becoming more linked in AfPak: Mullen

PTI
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Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his reappointment.
AP Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his reappointment.

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.

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