'Pakistan militants a threat to stability'
3 February 2006
Washington: Pakistan-based militant groups that are active in Kashmir pose a persistent threat to regional stability and U.S. interests in South Asia and the Near East, said a U.S. top intelligence official testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee here. National Intelligence Director John Negroponte on Thursday told U.S. lawmakers that India would be a 'reliable ally' in the fight against global terrorism, in part because it had been a frequent target of Islamic terrorists, mainly in Kashmir. The intelligence chief, while examining the activities of various jihadi groups, said, 'some of the Pakistan-based militants also posed a potential threat to our interests worldwide.' Mr. Negroponte said a network of Islamic extremists in Lodi (California), for example, maintained connections with Pakistani militant groups, recruited U.S. citizens (of Pakistan origin) for training at radical Karachi madrassas and according to FBI information, allegedly raised funds for international jihadi groups. The leader of the network and some others were deported to Pakistan recently. On Pakistan, Mr. Negroponte said even though it remained a frontline State in the war on terror, Islamabad also remained 'a major source of extremism' that posed a threat to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, the United States, India and Afghanistan. He also regretted that despite promises Gen. Musharraf had 'not done enough' to promote democracy in Pakistan where many of 'our most important interests intersect.' Noting that New Delhi sought to play a key role in fostering democracy in the region, especially in Nepal and Bangladesh, Mr. Negroponte said that India would continue to be a reliable ally against global terrorism because it had been a frequent target for Islamic terrorists, mainly in Kashmir. He said rapid economic growth and increasing technical competence were securing India's leading role in South Asia.