.... WASHINGTON, JULY 16: United States is seeking more information on the presence of the Pakistani Taliban in Syria, an official has said.
“We have seen that report and seeking more details,” said Jen Psaki, State Department spokesperson, adding that the US was concerned about the presence of foreign fighters among the Syrian rebels.
“We’ve been very clear about our longstanding concerns over the influx of foreign fighters into Syria who seek to capitalise on the situation in Syria and foment violence for their own benefit,” Psaki said.
Psaki was responding to questions on the Pakistani Taliban revelation that its fighters drawn from various countries have joined the Syrian rebels against the President, Bashar Al-Assad’s forces.
The US is providing non-lethal military assistance to the Syrian rebels, with several lawmakers and a part of the administration contemplating advancing its assistance to it.
“The Pakistani Taliban has been designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation, has conducted numerous terrorist attacks in Pakistan.
The people of Pakistan have suffered greatly from terrorism, including at the hands of TTP (Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan). But beyond that, we’re looking into the reports and determining the facts on the ground,” Psaki said.
The United States, she said, will “take a closer look” as it has more information.
“But all options remain on the table, aside from boots on the ground,” she said.
Islamic militants leave Pakistan to fight in Syria.Suleman spent years targeting minority Shiite Muslims in his home country of Pakistan as a member of one of the country's most feared militant groups. Now he is on his way to a new sectarian battleground, Syria, where he plans to join Sunni rebels battling President Bashar Assad's regime.
It is a fight he believes will boost his reward in heaven.
The short and stocky Pakistani, who identified himself using only his first name for fear of being targeted by authorities, is one of an increasing number of militants who have left Pakistan for Syria in recent months. The fighters have contributed to a growing presence of Islamic extremists and complicated U.S. efforts to help the rebels.
Many fighters like Suleman believe they must help Syria's Sunni majority defeat Assad's Alawite regime — an offshoot of the Shiite sect. Radical Sunnis view Shiites as heretics.
The presence of Islamic extremists in Syria looms large over U.S. efforts to help the rebels, especially when it comes to providing weapons that could end up in the hands of America's enemies. The extremists have also sparked infighting with more secular rebels concerned about the increasing power of the Islamists.
Most of the foreign fighters in Syria are from Arab countries, including al-Qaida militants from Iraq on the rebel side and Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon on the regime's side. The flow of militants from Pakistan adds a new element to that mix.
Pakistani Interior Ministry spokesman Omar Hamid Khan said provincial authorities throughout Pakistan deny that militants have left the country for Syria.
But three Pakistani intelligence officials based in the tribal region that borders Afghanistan, as well as militants themselves, say the fighters leaving Pakistan for Syria include members of al-Qaida, the Pakistani Taliban and Suleman's group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi....