Wednesday, December 03, 2008

World faces WMD attack by 2013

A day after Barack Obama unveiled his new security team [CNN], a commission set up by the US Congress warned that the world faced a terrorist attack in which weapons of mass destruction might be deployed. Entitled the World at Risk, the report singles out Pakistan as the weakest link in world security and said that terrorists were "likely" to stage a nuclear or biological weapons attack somewhere in the world in the next five years. The US should move with a sense of urgency to prevent such attacks, the reports says, and suggests the US should be less concerned that terrorists will become biologists and far more concerned that biologists will become terrorists. The commission, which will hand its findings to Vice-President-elect Joe Biden, wants President-elect Barack Obama to appoint a senior official to co-ordinate intelligence to specifically combat the spread of nuclear and biological weapons [BBC / Sky News / ABC News /].

The suggestion that Pakistan poses a series security risk has been highlighted recently by the terror attacks launched a week ago today in Mumbai, India. Already, the only terrorists captured alive has allegedly admitted that he and his nine accomplices trained in Pakistan for several months [CNN]. Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, 21, told investigators that he spent the past 18 months training at various camps run by Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, a Pakistan-based terror group said to allied with al Qaeda. Kasab told police he joined the group, known by its acronym LeT, six months before he began training.
Across India today thousands held candle-lit vigils in memory of the 179 who died and hundreds more maimed by the attacks. Meanwhile there have been mass protests many venting their anger at Pakistan. Amongst the protesters were Muslims, some holding banners calling for Pakistan to be declared a terrorist state. The attacks have angered many Muslims and the bodies of the terrorists have been refused burial. The influential Muslim Jama Masjid Trust, which runs the 7.5-acre Badakabrastan graveyard, said it would not bury the gunmen because they were not true followers of Islam. Hanif Nalkhande, a spokesman for the trust, said: "People who committed this heinous crime cannot be called Muslim. Islam does not permit this sort of barbaric crime" [The Times].
The tension between the two countries has also prompted US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to fly into the region. She has called on Pakistan to take some responsibility of the militants operating within its borders. "We believe Pakistan has a central role to play in this, to make certain that these terrorists cannot continue to operate and operate in this fashion" Rice said at a press conference [CNN]. But she also called on both countries be more open with each other. She asked Pakistan to cooperate "fully and urgently" with India to bring the perpetrators of the brazen Mumbai terror attack to justice and stressed a greater "intelligence sharing" between India and Pakistan.

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