New information revealing a Kashmir-focused militant group with links to Pakistani intelligence helped shield Osama bin Laden demonstrates why the U.S. must press Pakistani authorities to take a more comprehensive approach to fighting terrorism.
Pakistan has long sought to distinguish between al-Qaeda and Kashmir-focused groups it allows to function openly in Pakistani society. However, the revelations about contacts between members of Harakat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) and Osama bin Laden show Pakistan’s segmented approach to terrorism has failed miserably. In fact, it contributed to the ability of the world’s most wanted terrorist to live undetected in a military town in the heart of Pakistan.
The U.S. must insist that Pakistan detain the leader of HuM, Fazlur Rehman Khalil, and any of his colleagues who have had contact with al-Qaeda and provide U.S. officials access to these individuals for questioning.
It is clear that Kashmir-focused militant groups like HuM and Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, responsible for the 2008 Mumbai attacks, are part of al-Qaeda’s broader militant network and thus facilitate al-Qaeda’s targeting of the U.S. and other countries.
It is time for the Pakistani leadership to pursue these terrorists and demonstrate that they will no longer be able to operate freely in Pakistani society.