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'Obama exaggerating terror threat'

world Updated: Oct 09, 2010 00:41 IST
The Guardian
The Guardian
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A US terror alert issued this week about Al Qaeda plots to attack targets in western Europe was politically motivated and not based on credible new information, senior Pakistani diplomats and European intelligence officials said.

The non-specific US warning, which led Britain, France and other countries to raise their overseas terror alert levels, was an attempt to justify a recent escalation in US drone and helicopter attacks inside Pakistan that have “set the country on fire”, said Wajid Shamsul Hasan, the High Commissioner to Britain.

Hasan, a veteran diplomat who is close to Pakistan's president, suggested the Obama administration was playing politics with the terror threat before next month's midterm congressional elections.

He also claimed President Obama was reacting to pressure to demonstrate that his Afghan war strategy and this year's troop surge, which are unpopular with the American public, were necessary.

“I will not deny the fact that there may be internal political dynamics, including the forthcoming midterm American elections. If the Americans have definite information about terrorists and Al Qaeda people, we should be provided [with] that and we could go after them ourselves,” Hasan said.

“Such reports are a mixture of frustrations, ineptitude and lack of appreciation of ground realities. Any attempt to infringe the sovereignty of Pakistan would not bring about stability in Afghanistan, which is presumably the primary objective of the US and Nato forces.”