Pakistan's 'neo-Taliban' leader more dangerous than bin Laden: report

RackMaster

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I read this story today. Sounds like this guy should be a prime target and be taken out ASAP. :2c:

Warlord named No. 1 threat to West
Pakistan's 'neo-Taliban' leader more dangerous than bin Laden: report
Michael EvansThe Times, London; with files from Reuters
Wednesday, February 06, 2008

LONDON - A 34-year-old "neo-Taliban" leader in Pakistan is now regarded as the most deadly threat to the West, replacing Osama bin Laden as public enemy No 1.
Baitullah Mehsud, who is suspected of masterminding the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the Pakistani politician, was named yesterday as the most significant non-state threat to global security to have emerged in the past 12 months.
Nigel Inkster, the former deputy chief of MI6, the British Secret Intelligence Service, revealed that the neo-Taliban under the leadership of Mr. Mehsud were suspected of having been involved in terrorist plots in Britain and Spain.
"There is some evidence they were involved with the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and that they have dispatched terrorists to the United Kingdom and Spain," Mr. Inkster said.
The revelation that the most extreme elements of the Taliban in Pakistan have turned their focus toward the West and foreign forces in Afghan-istan followed claims by U.S. President George W. Bush last year that the Taliban posed a global threat.
His remark was dismissed largely in Europe.
Mr. Inkster was speaking at the release of The Military Balance, an annual publication of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, (IISS) of which he is director of trans-national threats and political risk.
He was asked which non-state organization had emerged as the most serious threat over the previous 12 months and without hesitation identified Mr. Mehsud and his neo-Taliban extremists.
International terrorism, he said, remained a growth industry and the neo-Taliban group in Pakistan had earned the dubious honour of making the most progress.
Mr. Mehsud, who has been branded a senior al-Qaeda terrorist by the Pakistani authorities, lives in South Waziristan, a remote tribal region that borders Afghanistan. The Pashtun and warlord commander is considered by Pakistani security and intelligence services as a main suspect in the assassination of Ms. Bhutto in December.
Because it is a localized, tribal-based group, its numbers are amorphous, expanding when there may be a threat and just as quickly melting away into the rugged landscape of Wazi-ristan.
"In south Waziristan, they are actually pretty well established and the Pakistani army can't really take them on full frontal," Mr. Inkster said.
Mr. Inkster, who retired from MI6 a year ago, gave warning that the neo-Taliban groups in the tribal areas of Pakistan could become a global menace.
Nearly 400 militant groups now operate around the world and the greatest proliferation has been in the border regions between Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, the report said.
The number of violent "non-state" groups has grown about 10 per cent in the past year, according to the report.
Iraq and India, with more than 30 active guerrilla groups each, are the most volatile countries. The Afghan/Pakistan border and the Kashmir region between India and Pakistan are the worst affected areas, with a total of 65 groups in operation.
"It reflects the changing nature of conflicts over the past 10 to 15 years," Mr. Inkster said.
"We're seeing less and less inter-state conflict and more and more intra-state conflict involving a wide variety of armed groups -- the number just keeps on spiralling."
John Chipman, the director-general of the IISS, said there was a growing security risk in Afghanistan and that there had been a rise in the number of suicide bombings.
"There were more than 140 attacks last year. Some, such as the attack on the Serena Hotel in Kabul (on Jan. 15), showed unusual sophistication in planning and execution. We can expect more," he said.
The Afghan insurgency, he said, was "given impetus by the instability in Pakistan, which allows fighters to operate from the relative safety of the tribal areas."
Mr. Chipman said it was important to let Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, make his own decisions on security and not to be seen to be led by members of the NATO force in Afghanistan.
The appointment by the British of Abdullah Salaam, a former Taliban commander, as the mayor of Musa Qala, in Helmand province, had undercut the authority of the Afghan president, he said.
It had been approved by Kabul, but was later renounced by Mr. Karzai.
 
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