While these groups have links with Al Qaeda, the bigger danger to the US is their ability to trigger a major crisis for nuclear-armed Pakistan, including a war with India.
With Osama bin Laden dead, and only small numbers of Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, some US leaders are talking up the threat of other militant outfits in the region. Such talk appears aimed at convincing critics why significant US forces must remain in the region at a time of war fatigue.
“The key is making sure there are no safe havens for those transnational terrorist groups in Afghanistan,” Gen. David Petraeus told a reporter days after Mr. bin Laden’s death.
By tallying up groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, and the Haqqani Network, the number of “transnational terrorists” rises from just a few hundred Al Qaeda to thousands of violent extremists to keep an eye on.
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