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Police escort Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed, in Lahore, May 5, 2009.
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'Selective counter-terrorism is not a sufficient answer'
You recently warned about how global the Lashkar-e-Tayiba has become, its strong links with Al Qaeda and it as funding agents for other militant groups with sights on India. Is this monster created and supported by the ISI beyond the control of Pakistan?

It's certainly going to be very difficult but that should not be an excuse for inaction. If Lashkar-e-Tayiba is moving more and more into the mainstream of the global Islamic jihad -- because I think it is and because the attack on Mumbai showed it is -- then we face a very serious danger of marrying the goals of Al Qaeda with the capabilities of Lashkar-e-Tayiba, which would be a global menace not just to Indian interests, but to American interests, and to interests of many other countries around the world.

But how do you control this outfit, when Pakistan for all of the pressure from the US, as you say, see it as a strategic asset and far from coming down on them and shutting it down and destroying its leadership, release the likes of (Lashkar founder)Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and others?

We can only do it through constant intense engagement with the Pakistanis, pushing, cajoling, encouraging, to make clear all the time that selective counter-terrorism is not a sufficient answer.

But at the same time, hasn't the US got to balance its approach in that you don't push them too hard for fear that it may lead to the unraveling of this very nascent and weak civilian government led by Zardari? How do you make sure you don't go beyond the tipping point?

That's true. It's a tough balancing act, (but) I guess I'll lean a bit harder on let's be clear and unequivocal about the need to shut down all terrorist groups, not just the ones in the Swat valley. As much as I want them to shut down the Swat valley operations, the Swat valley is not the source of terror against either America or India.

Image: Police escort Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed, in Lahore, May 5, 2009.
Photograph: Mohsin Raza/Reuters
Also read: ISI's rogue child has turned its guns on Pakistan
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