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Monday, May 10, 2010

Pakistan to come under U.S. pressure on militant hub

As the United States applies monolithic and global pressure to the government in Islamabad, Pakistan will see its military chasing the ends without regard to the means. The U.S. state department is being deliberately vague as though they want Islamabad to be clear violence in Pakistan's tribal areas (that appears in U.S. and European media) is a U.S. concern, but not their problem. We can only anticipate results that are hasty, brutal and directed at satiating U.S. interests however poorly specified: civilian deaths with official reports of peculiarly high numbers of targets killed, all of them "militants."

Reuters story May 10, 2010

By Faisal Aziz – Mon. May 10, 8:09 am ET

KARACHI (Reuters) – Pakistan will come under greater U.S. pressure to attack a militant stronghold in the northwest, an official said, but with the army battling in several areas and resources stretched, Pakistan's own interests must come first.

The United States is convinced that Pakistani Taliban militants allied with al Qaeda were behind the attempted bombing in New York's Times Square on May 1, U.S. officials said on Sunday.

Ally Pakistan is cooperating with U.S. investigators trying to determine the nature of the militant links of the suspected bomber, a Pakistan-born naturalized American who is under arrest in the United States.

But U.S. pressure for Pakistani action against the main militant hub left on its lawless Afghan border is bound to mount.

"The pressure from the United States to start operations in North Waziristan has been there, and after the Times Square incident, the pressure will grow," said a senior Pakistani intelligence official who declined to be identified.

The New York bomb plot suspect, Faisal Shahzad, 30, was arrested on Monday last week, two days after authorities say he parked a crude car bomb in Times Square. Authorities say he has been cooperating in the investigation.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and other U.S. officials said on Sunday the Pakistani Taliban were involved.

Holder said the U.S. government was satisfied with Pakistani cooperation in the investigation, adding there was nothing to suggest the Pakistani government was aware of the plot.

The al Qaeda-linked Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (Taliban Movement of Pakistan) is an alliance of factions that has killed many hundreds of people in bomb attacks.

Tension with the United States, Pakistan's biggest aid donor, can worry stock investors but the main Pakistani index closed 0.16 percent up at 10,288.14 on hopes the International Monetary Fund would soon approve a fifth tranche of an $11.3 billion loan for Pakistan, dealers said.


Over the past year, the armed forces have mounted offensives against militant strongholds in the northwest, largely clearing several areas including their bastion of South Waziristan.

But North Waziristan has not been tackled, even though TTP members are believed to have taken refuge with allied Afghan factions based there that are not fighting the Pakistani state.

The army says it must secure the areas it has cleared before attacking there. But analysts say Pakistan sees the Afghan factions in North Waziristan as tools for its long-term objectives in Afghanistan, where Pakistan wants to see a friendly government and the sway of old rival India minimized.

"Basically, what the U.S. wishes is that we go into North Waziristan, and primarily that means targeting the Haqqani and Gul Bahadur networks," the Pakistani intelligence official said, referring to the two main Afghan Taliban factions there.

"But we have our own limitations. We are there in South Waziristan and yes, some of the militants are fleeing to Orakzai and some to North Waziristan, and we are following them. At the same time, our capacity is limited and we cannot open all fronts together. That will be against our national interest."

"We are not saying that we won't target the militants there, but we have to do that within our capacity and resources. The U.S. will keep putting pressure and we will try and take that pressure and act as best as we can while preserving our interests."

U.S. officials have in recent days been praising Pakistani efforts against militants, but Secretary of State Hillary Clinton raised eyebrows over the weekend when she told the CBS network Pakistan would face "severe consequences" if a successful attack in the United States was traced to Pakistan.

Retired Pakistani intelligence officer Asad Munir said U.S. blame would be counter-productive.

"If they blame Pakistan, I don't think they'll win this war," he said. "They (Pakistani forces) will go to North Waziristan but it will take time. If Pakistan is pressured, it will be disastrous."

"The 'do more' mantra will lead to thinking in the military that this is happening despite their people being killed every day and ultimately foot soldiers will be demoralized," he said.

(Additional reporting by Kamran Haider, Sahar Ahmed; Writing by Robert Birsel; Editing by Chris Allbritton and Jerry Norton)

1 comment:

CTuttle said...

Pretty cool blog...! ;-)

May I recommend a few other notable AfPak news websites...?

Afghanistan Conflict Monitor , registan_net, and, The Majlis...!