Key Obama aide Reidel says Pak most dangerous country in the world'

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Lahore, Dec.13 (ANI): US President-elect Barack Obama's key adviser on South Asian affairs, Bruce Reidel has described Pakistan as the most dangerous country in the world and predicted that the next nuclear war could take place in South Asia.

In an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel that was published on Thursday, Reidel said: "I have said on many occasions that Pakistan is the most dangerous country in the world. International terrorism, nuclear proliferation, the threat of nuclear war, drugs, democracy deficit and Islam all come together in an extraordinarily combustible way."

The Daily Times further quoted him as saying that Pakistan's intelligence agencies and Osama Bin Laden had been involved in the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s, and that the US was working with Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Agency.

"They wanted to apply the lessons they learned in fighting the Soviets against the Indians" in Kashmir, Riedel said.

"For those in the global jihad, the Kashmiri cause is another example of a persecuted Muslim population and an occupation of Muslim lands. In many ways it is like a second Palestine," he told the magazine.

He said the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LT) had sent operatives to fight with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Iraq as part of this global network, and that the Al Qaeda figures captured in Pakistan had been found in "LeT safe houses".

Regarding allegations that the ISI still backs such groups, Riedel said: "This is an area that is extremely murky." But he added the 'Frankenstein monster' was now out of the ISI's control, and that such groups were targeting the ISI besides wanting to kill former president Pervez Musharraf and President Asif Zardari.

The expert said Zardari had made remarkable peace offers to India and that "those who thrive on this [Pakistan-India] conflict" wanted to derail the process.

"I think this (terrorist attacks in Mumbai) will become a role model for terrorists around the world. You will see the copycat phenomenon where others will try to imitate what has just happened in Mumbai," he said.

He referred to the fact that the attacks dominated global news "for 72 hours non-stop", and said such media coverage "is exactly what the terrorists wanted".

Asked if it was necessary to solve the Kashmir conflict and bring peace between Israelis and Palestinians for success against Al Qaeda, Reidel said: "It is essential to the business of drying up support for the terrorists. We are not going to get Al Qaeda to change its mind. . . What we want to do, though, is . . . to demonstrate that they are not real Muslims but a bunch of murderers." (ANI)

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