- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 28, 2010

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday warned Pakistan against promoting the export of terror, saying the international community will not tolerate it.

“[W]e should be very clear with Pakistan that we want to see a strong and a stable and a democratic Pakistan, but we cannot tolerate in any sense the idea that this country is allowed to look both ways and is able in any way to promote the export of terror, whether to India or whether to Afghanistan, or anywhere else in the world,” he said.

Mr. Cameron’s remarks, made during a visit to Bangalore, India, are the strongest and highest-level criticism of Pakistan since leaked U.S. military field reports this week revealed collusion between Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Pakistani officials say the documents do not reflect the current ground realities.

“It is not right … to have any relationship with groups that are promoting terror,” Mr. Cameron said.

“Democratic states that want to be part of the developed world cannot do that, and the message to Pakistan from the U.S. and from the U.K. is very clear on that point,” he added.

U.S. and Indian intelligence officials say the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks that killed 166, including six Americans, were carried out by Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba.

The two nuclear-armed South Asian neighbors have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947.

U.S. officials have sought to downplay the raw intelligence data revealed in the documents leaked by WikiLeaks.org.

“The Pakistanis have made possible many of our greatest victories against al Qaeda and its violent allies, either through active cooperation or by permitting us to take action,” said a U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity in order to freely discuss intelligence matters. “That’s been true for years, and, over time, they’ve expanded the limits of what gets done, and where it gets done.”

But that cooperation has done little to remove doubts about Pakistan’s commitment to the effort in Afghanistan.

“We’re also under no illusions when it comes to the Pakistanis. While they’re absolutely critical partners, there are times and cases when their interpretation of their own national interests doesn’t square entirely with ours,” the U.S. official said.

“It’s not as if they’re helping us on one hand and killing us on the other. But they’re not beyond trying to use select extremist groups either to build up their own influence in Afghanistan or to counter Indian influence there … The trends with the Pakistanis are positive, but nobody should think every bit of the picture is,” the official added.

Mr. Cameron said Britain is determined that groups like the Taliban, the Haqqani Network and LeT should not be allowed to launch attacks in India, Britain or Afghanistan.

Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has a predominantly anti-India agenda, recently has stepped up its activities in Afghanistan.

“This is part of an expansion of Lashkar’s enemies list to include the U.S. and its allies. Because India has a [non-military] presence in Afghanistan fighting there is a chance to kill two birds with one stone,” said Stephen Tankel, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Mr. Tankel said Afghanistan has become another battlefield in the proxy war between India and Pakistan.

• Ashish Kumar Sen can be reached at asen@washingtontimes.com.

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