‘Al Qaeda, Pakistani Taliban have teamed up for attacks in India’


Washington: With its epicentre in the tribal areas of Pakistan, the Al Qaeda terrorist group has now teamed up with the Pakistani Taliban in recent attacks in Pakistan and India, according to a US strategic expert.

Support TwoCircles

Despite recent setbacks, the Al Qaeda remains global in scale and “remains intent on attacking the United States and our friends and allies across the globe”, Rick “Ozzie” Nelson told a Congressional panel at a hearing on Afghanistan.

But “the epicentre of its power lies in Pakistan’s semi-governed tribal areas”, said Nelson, senior fellow on international security programme at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank.

“On a more immediate level, Al Qaeda operatives in Northwest Pakistan are believed to have teamed with other militant groups, including the TTP (Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan), in recent attacks in Pakistan and India,” he said.

“Al Qaeda offshoots remain active beyond South Asia,” added Nelson, a former US Navy helicopter pilot with over 20 years’ operational and intelligence experience, including assignments at the National Security Council and the National Counter-terrorism Center.

The fact that Al Qaeda’s epicentre of its power lies in Pakistan’s semi-governed tribal areas should be related to US goals in Afghanistan, he said.

“We should require that the US invaded Afghanistan to defeat Al Qaeda, but ask one policy analyst why US and NATO forces remain in Afghanistan today and you’re likely to see a flurry of different responses,” Nelson said.

“Defeating the Taliban, stabilising the rebuilding of Afghanistan, and maintaining American credibility are just a few of several reasons given in addition to counter-terrorism for our continued presence in the country,” he said.

“These are all laudable goals, but the White House must ensure that combating global terrorism generally and Al Qaeda specifically remains a strategic anchor in Afghanistan,” Nelson said.