U.S. terrorism experts say the November terror attacks in Mumbai, India
are an example of a rising culture of terrorism that could inspire
similar operations in the future. The experts discussed the potential
for future attacks during a congressional hearing this week Wednesday
before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security.
expert Brian Michael Jenkins of the RAND Corporation says the
masterminds behind the Mumbai attacks showed a sophisticated level of
strategic thinking during the three-day assault that left more than 170
people dead. Jenkins says meticulous planning by the attackers, who
India says are members of the out-lawed group Lashkar-e-Taiba, allowed
them to achieve their objectives.
"They were able to capture
and hold international attention, always an objective of terrorism.
They were able to exploit India's vulnerabilities, create a political
crisis in India," he said.
Speaking before the U.S. Senate
Committee on Homeland Security, Jenkins said what happened in Mumbai
clearly shows that al-Qaida is not the only terrorism threat in the
world. He said there are new contenders that have adopted al-Qaida's
ideology of global terror.
"This suggests not only a continuing
terrorist campaign in India, but more broadly it suggests that the
global struggle against the jihadist terrorist campaign is far from
over," he said.
The attacks in Mumbai were carried out by 10
men armed with assault weapons. Jenkins says the attackers used
hostages to impede the police response.
"This is a tactic that
we have seen elsewhere and that now we do have to be prepared for.
That is, terrorists deliberately embedding themselves with civilians to
increase the ultimate body count as the response takes place," he said.
said terrorists are likely to continue to focus on "soft targets" like
hotels, surface transportation, and other public places that are not
usually subject to increased security.
He also added that
Pakistan continues to play a problematic role in terrorist campaigns in
South Asia because terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba are finding
sanctuary in the country's turbulent tribal areas.
Republican Senator Susan Collins of the Northeastern state of Maine says Pakistan should be urged to take action.
United States government must continue to press the Pakistani
government to eliminate safe-havens, and starve LeT and similar groups
of new recruits for their deadly operations," she said.
Pakistan officials say they have detained at least 71 people suspected of being linked to Mumbai attacks.
U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security has held multiple hearings
focusing on lessons that the United States and other nations could
learn from the deadly Mumbai attacks.