‘US should target LeT, which can compel Indo-Pak war “in single stroke”, with drones’

Sunday, November 14, 2010

WASHINGTON - The United States should use drones to target Lashkar-e-Taiba hideouts if Pakistan does not destroy them, says a bipartisan US task force.

“What we’re suggesting is that we include LeT in this target list, because if the Pakistanis aren’t willing to see this as a threat and indeed an existential threat to them, then we see it that way, and we’re going to prosecute it,” the Dawn quoted Richard Armitage, former deputy Secretary of State, as saying.

Talking to the media after the release of the task force’s report on Pakistan and Afghanistan, he urged Islamabad to realise that the Haqqani network also posed an existential threat to the Pakistan.

“I would hope they would see the Haqqani network in the same way they see Pakistani Taliban, that this is ultimately a threat to them as well,” he said.

In a report to the Obama administration, the task force warned that another Mumbai-like attack could lead to a full-fledged war between India and Pakistan.

“On Lashkar-e-Taiba, they have to see this as something that could, in a single stroke, cause war between India and Pakistan, something that I think would delight Al Qaeda no end,” Armitage observed.

“And why do I say this? LeT is trouble. As I’ve already indicated, if they have one more strike, another Mumbai-type attack, I do not think the Indian government can be held back,” he added.

He felt that the US needed to take the LeT threat more seriously because they were also in Afghanistan, saying, “They’re killing us. I take it personally.”

“If we can’t be successful in the jawboning, pressuring or sticks, and carroting them into this, then in the long run, we’re dealing with very dangerous situation,” Armitage warned.

The report’s lead writer- Daniel S. Markey- said that the report suspected an unstable US-Pakistan relationship because lesser progress by Islamabad in combating terror would hamper their ties.

“If we were to suffer an attack from Pakistan, we would be forced to, I think, take a very different line,” he argued.

“So it’s a recognition of that political reality, which leads us to look at what those alternatives would have to be. It’s not a desire to go there, and it’s not an inherent threat or anything that we’re trying to level against the Pakistanis,” he said.

“It’s a recognition of the strategic reality that we both face and how uncomfortable that is for both sides,” Markey added. (ANI)

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