''India still larger threat to Pak than al-Qaeda, Taliban''

Mike Rogers
Washington, May 12: India is still a larger threat to Pakistan than the al Qaeda and Taliban, a top US lawmaker has said, while observing that certain members of the ISI continue to be sympathetic towards such terror outfits.

"We know that certain ISI members still have a sympathy toward the Taliban and certain al-Qaida elements, and the Haqqani Network," Congressman Mike Rogers, Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a Washington-based eminent think tank.

"Our national interests haven't lined up. Pakistan has not really come to the conclusion that the Taliban and al Qaeda is as big a threat as India. They believe India is their problem. And so that has been, I think, the United States' struggle all along. So they look at this as, gee, we'd like to help.

We're going to try to help. But have you looked at India lately? Boy, that's a real problem. And so that's the struggle that we've had with Pakistan," he said in response to a question.

Rogers said he believed that US is going to have to ask tough questions. "We need to understand. I think it's inherent, as our relationship continues here, that we know who, what, when and why about Osama bin Laden being in this particular compound for as much as five years. We should all understand that".

"From all the information I have seen, we can't conclusively say that somebody senior knew and promoted safe haven. Clearly there may have been elements that knew and looked the other way, but we can't say the institutions yet knew and looked the other way. Hopefully we will know that, I believe," he said.

Rogers said Pakistan has been helpful in the past, so it should come as no surprise to anyone that it would say they believe they have shared information in the past that may have ultimately led to bin Laden's whereabouts.

"This is a good opportunity for Pakistan to say: Listen, this was embarrassing. Let's move forward. There's a lot we can do together, and let's talk about all the things we can do together to break the back of the threat emanating from the tribal areas and settled areas in Pakistan.

"I can't say, sitting here, I would dispute that. The problem has come with the fact that if they knew he was there and if they didn't pass along that little tidbit of information is a huge problem," the Congressman said.


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