Peshawar/Islamabad, Nov.29 : According to Indian authorities, the trail of the gunmen who ran riot in the streets and hotels of Mumbai leads back to Pakistan's tribal border areas.
According to a report in The Telegraph, the attackers connection to al Qaeda has been strengthened by the fact they singled out British and American citizens as their victims. The attackers included "British citizens of Pakistani origin", most probably trained in the tribal areas.
In their propaganda, the terrorists named the territorial dispute over Kashmir and the unstable situation prevailing in war torn Afghanistan as reasons for launching their carnage in Mumbai.
This juxtaposition of causes is no surprise to observers of the region. India and Pakistan have long used factions within Afghanistan as proxies in their long dispute over Kashmir.
According to the paper, Pakistan's tribal areas have become a nexus for arms and money, a playground for the world's intelligence agencies and for the jihadist groups they both combat and sponsor.
America, in particular, is fighting what is essentially an undeclared war in Pakistan, one which will only increase in intensity as its attention shifts from Iraq under incoming president Barack Obama.
In the areas they control, the militants, who began their campaigns under the guise of "social reform", have enforced a regime of fear, beheading suspected informers, stoning women and committing acts of brutality against Pakistani security forces.
"The tribal areas are an ungoverned space that make Pakistan a threat to global security," says a senior Western military intelligence official in Islamabad.