Skip to comments.Next 9/11 to come from Fata: US general
Posted on 05/23/2008 11:00:51 AM PDT by milestogo
Next 9/11 to come from Fata: US general
By Anwar Iqbal
WASHINGTON, May 22: A top American general on Thursday endorsed a US intelligence assessment that the next 9/11-type attack on the US soil would come from Al Qaeda bases in Pakistans tribal region but urged the United States to increase its security assistance to the country to help it deal with the threat.
Gen David Petraeus, a top US military commander nominated to lead the Central Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Pakistan would be the first country he would visit, if confirmed, to assess its desire and capability to fight terrorism.
During the hearing, Senator Jack Reed, a Democrat, reminded the general that soon he would be in charge of US military operations for the region that included Pakistan. He then recalled that a recent US intelligence assessment suggested that Al Qaeda had reconstituted itself in Fata and that the next 9/11-style attack on the US soil might come from Pakistan.
Do you agree with those intelligence assessments? asked the senator.
I do, Senator, said Gen Petraeus. Clearly, Al Qaedas senior leadership has been strengthened in the Fata, even as though their main effort still is assessed to be in Iraq by them, as well as by us. But the organisation of an attack, if you will, would likely come from the Fata.
What does that say about our strategy? asked Senator Reed, blaming the Bush administration for failing to engage the Pakistan military in effective counter-insurgency operations. He reminded the general that recently, the government of Pakistan had entered into another stand-down agreement with the tribal leaders in Fata.
It seems to me that we have not made (this) existential threat, the main effort in our campaign plan for your theatre of operations. Whats your thought? the senator asked.
Senator, clearly we have to provide additional assistance to the new Pakistani government, the general responded. He noted that Islamabads new rulers were still solidifying their coalition, developing a counter-insurgency strategy and an approach for dealing with Fata.
The new Pakistani government, he noted, inherited this problem, which was causing extraordinary violence in their country before they were elected.
Gen Petraeus said that two weeks ago he had a very long conversation with the US ambassador in Islamabad and others during a visit to Qatar and was convinced that the US had very substantial programmes for Pakistan.
But I think that the key need is to assess whether the overall concept that is guiding those on the Pakistani side, in particular, of course, is adequate or not, he added.
And one of the first trips that I would make, if confirmed as Centcom commander, would be to Pakistan, to sit down with a fellow US Army Command and General Staff College graduate, General Kayani, to talk at some length about that and, obviously, to do the same with the leaders of the Pakistani government.
He said the problem of terrorism in Fata had global implication and not just local extremist implications, for Pakistan.
Gen Petraeus advocated providing additional equipment and training facilities to the Pakistani troops to help them stop cross-border infiltrations into Afghanistan that were having a destabilising influence on the entire region.
Oh no.... First thing Obama's gonna say is: See, I told ya so, even Gen. Patraeus wants to talk with our enemies! ! !
That’s highly significant!
AND STRAIGHT THROUGH OUR UNPROTECTED SOUTHERN BORDER~
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