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Archive for May, 2009

Pakistan: major attacks in 2009

Posted by :) on May 27, 2009

Updated on 27 May 2009

By Channel 4 News

Militant violence has surged in Pakistan in recent years, with the latest blast following army action to push back a growing Taliban insurgency in the Swat region in the north west. Below is a timelineof the major attacks in recent months.

Pakistani women react to the bomb blast (credit:Getty Images)

27 May: Gunmen attack a police headquarters in the Pakistani city of Lahore, opening fire and setting off a car-bomb that killed at least 22 people and wounded nearly 300.

16 May: Car packed with mortar bombs blows up in the north western city of Peshawar, killing 11 people, including four children passing in a school bus.

11 May: Ten people are killed and more than a dozen wounded in a suicide car bomb attack on a security check post near Peshawar.

25 April: Twelve children who mistake a bomb for a toy are killed when it explodes as they play with it in the Low Dir district near Swat. Authorities say it is unclear whether the incident is an “act of terrorism” or an accident.

18 April: A suicide car-bomber rams a military convoy, killing 25 soldiers and police and two passers-by near Kohat, 190 km (120 miles) west of Islamabad.

15 April: A suicide car-bomber blows himself up at a security post in the north west, killing nine policemen and three civilians.

5 April: A suicide bomber blows himself up in a religious centre for minority Shi’ite Muslims in Chakwal in central Pakistan. At least 17 people are killed and about 11 seriously wounded. The attack comes a day after a suicide attack in Islamabad killed eight paramilitary soldiers.

30 March: Militants armed with guns and grenades storm a police training centre in Lahore killing eight recruits, wounding scores and holding off police and troops for eight hours. The attack is claimed by Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud. Four militants are killed and three arrested.

27 March: A suicide bomber kills 37 people when he blows himself up in a crowded mosque near the Afghan border. Among the dead are 14 policemen and paramilitary soldiers.

3 March: Gunmen attack a bus carrying Sri Lanka’s cricket team outside a Lahore stadium, killing seven people, including six policemen and a driver, and wounding six of the cricketers and a British coach.

20 February: Suicide bomber kills 27 people and wounds 65 in an attack on a funeral procession for a Shi’ite Muslim killed a day earlier in Dera Ismail Khan town.

5 February: At least 24 people are killed in a suspected suicide bombing near Shi’ite mosque in Dera Ghazi Khan, central Pakistan.


Posted in AF-PAK, All Muslims are not terrorists, PAKISTAN BLAST PHOTOS, PAKISTAN BOMB BLASTS, PAKISTAN TERROR, Taliban, Terrorist attack, TERRORIST ATTACK PICS, TERROSIST ATTACK | Leave a Comment »

‘Many Pakistanis question if this is their war’

Posted by :) on May 19, 2009

Source : TOI

Salima Hashmi, the daughter of legendary Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, is a patron of arts and one of the best-known rights activists in Pakistan. Sameer Arshadspoke to Hashmi about the Taliban threat and the role of Pakistan’s civil society in countering extremism:

How real is the threat of Taliban spilling over into other parts of Pakistan?
The Taliban are more than one group. I consider Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad to be an equal threat and they aren’t restricted to one part of the country. They are firmly entrenched in areas like Muridke in Punjab. The Binori Masjid in Karachi is another centre of militancy.
Why has Pakistan’s famed civil society failed to stand up to the Taliban?
Civil society is responding and demonstrations are taking place at various places. A signature cam
paign is in operation. But i think the drone attacks and the US’s Afghan policy have made some people ambivalent towards the Taliban. Many people question whether this is ‘our war’. At the same time, i think the recent events like the takeover in Swat and radical cleric Sufi Mohammad’s statements are galvanising more people against the Taliban. However, the large number of civilian casualties in the army action is causing a lot of concern.
If Pakistan’s civil society couldoustmilitaryrulerGeneral Pervez Musharraf and force President Asif Ali Zardari to restore the deposed judges, why can’t it do the same vis-a-vis the Taliban?
The lawyers movement took an immense toll on the people’s lives. It led to loss of livelihood for so many young lawyers and civil society activists. It has exhausted the populace.
What keeps the civil society going?
The savagery of military ruler Zia-ul Haq decimated the political process, parties, labour, students, intellectual, artists, writers and media and civil rights groups. His legacy lives on through the laws enacted in that time. You can hardly understand the implications of
Zia’s 11-year rule. He transformed Pakistan in every way. It’s there in the way textbooks were written, procedures altered and this continues till today. But it also strengthened the independence of the spirit of society and media in ways that surprise our friends from India. Our media is unlike that of India. I find Indian media to be more conformist and often eager to swallow the ‘official’ line as though it would be unpatriotic if they didn’t do so.
Do you think India has a role to play in strengthening Pakistan’s civilian dispensation?
Certainly one expects India to be supportive of a civil dispensation and give up eulogising Musharraf. He represented himself and the army with great aplomb and we have to live with the consequences, the most frightening of which are the Taliban and the Lashkars of various kinds.

Posted in Jaish, Lashkar -e - taiba, LeT, PAKISTAN TERROR, Taliban, Terrorism, Terrorist attack, TERROSIST ATTACK, Terrosist Organizations | Leave a Comment »

Pakistan is facing galloping Talibanisation: Ahmed Rashid

Posted by :) on May 8, 2009

On Monday, April 4, veteran journalist Ahmed Rashid addressed a select crowd at Karachi’s Mohatta Palace Museum. Not surprisingly, the subject of his talk was ‘Afghanistan and Pakistan: Quest for Peace or Recipe for War?’ He argued that Pakistan was facing a major existential crisis: ‘I no longer say that there’s a creeping Talibanisation in Pakistan, it’s a galloping Talibanisation.’ Here, Dawn.com’s Huma Yusuf presents the salient points from Mr. Rashid’s presentation. (Photograph: Fahim Siddiqi/White Star)

Where did the Taliban come from?

The myths about the Taliban need to be clarified. They are not an extension of an external threat, they are not being funded by Russia or India. In the 1990s, the Taliban in Afghanistan were fighting the Northern Alliance, and thousands of Pashtuns went to fight as foot soldiers on behalf of the Taliban. In 2001, the Afghan Taliban fled to Pakistan. Pakistani Taliban, who previously had little clout, became hosts of the Afghan Taliban and earned much money for their assistance. From 2001 to 2004, the Pakistani Taliban grew in numbers and influence and became radicalized because of their proximity to the Afghan Taliban. They planned and mobilized to establish a Taliban ‘emirate’ or state in Fata and the expansion of that idea of statehood is what we see happening today.

Pakistani Taliban expanding

The leadership of the Taliban is now in Pakistan and they have stated their intention of overthrowing the government here. The Taliban are linking up with groups in Pakistan and the Pakistani Taliban movement is turning into a multiethnic movement. Groups cultivated to fight in Kashmir have joined up with the Pakistani Taliban, and include Punjabis with organizations such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Harkatul Mujahideen. Now, some 40 groups in Pakistan are loosely affiliated with the Pakistan – the several years of progressive diplomacy with India exacerbated the rise of different Taliban-affiliated factions. For that reason, Pakistan faces a more dangerous situation than Afghanistan, where Tajik and Uzbek fighters were not permitted to join the Afghan Taliban movement.

Issues in Pakistani governance

Pakistan is also weaker because of a raging economic crisis, the ongoing insurgency in Balochistan, and a political crisis. The PPP government has wasted one year vying with the PML-N for power rather than tackling the Taliban threat. Meanwhile, ANP, which was supposed to serve as secular face of Frontier province, has collapsed (ANP officials are being targeted by Taliban in northern areas).

Before 2008, the Musharraf government allowed the Taliban to resettle in Pakistan from Afghanistan. Musharraf wanted to maintain the jihadi nexus as a force against the Indians. Also, the emphasis then was on getting rid of Al Qaeda, the Taliban were not seen as a major threat.

After 2004/2005, when military operations did begin in Fata, the government pursued a stop-and-start policy, which involved several peace deals that did not hold. In the meantime, the Pakistan government and army failed to protect the people of the Fata and the traditional tribal hierarchies that were pro-Pakistan. About 300 maliks of tribes were killed and by 2007, there were half a million refugees from Fata in Pakistan. Having lost the goodwill of the population in Fata, the government will find it hard to reenter the area and rebuild traditional tribal structures.

American failures

How did we get from 2001 to where we are today? The Bush government got distracted by Iraq, which provided a diversion of attention and resources from the situation in Afghanistan. Instead of having an on-the-ground plan for capacity building in Afghanistan, the US supported warlords – instead of empowering the centre, regional powers were bolstered. Plus, little was done about the drug trade, which is now the main source of funding for the Taliban (it is estimated at 300 million dollars, but Rashid believes the real figures are triple that amount). Instead of defeating Taliban in Afghanistan, Americans routed them to Pakistan.

Obama policy

US President Barack Obama is now doing what Bush should have done in Afghanistan (troop surge, capacity building, securing the ground to ensure that presidential elections can take place this August). In Pakistan, however, American options are limited. There was a hope that after February 2008 elections, there would be a strong coalition government that could serve as a civilian partner for Obama to partner with. After all, army has proved unreliable ally (especially since it still thinks that India is the main enemy; army officials dislike Indian presence in Afghanistan; and army officials don’t like Karzai and other Afghan leaders). However, there is no one for America to partner with. PM? President? Opposition leader? They have all proved too weak.

As a result, US is asking for aid to help Paksitan, but there is very little trust and faith in Pakistan amongst the Congress. The aid that will be given will be packed with conditionalities that Pakistan won’t be able to accept. Congress is asking, who will we give this aid to?

India question

There is a tit-for-tat game between India and Pakistan whereby they support nationalist insurgencies in each other’s countries (so while India may be giving funds in Balochistan, Pakistan is helping out rebels in Assam). But India is not funding the Taliban. India realizes that the Taliban will be at their border next and they have nothing to gain from supporting the militants.

Regional strategy

New focus of Obama administration is regional policy – get Afghanistan’s six neighbors involved and make them sort out regional stability and set a common agenda. But first, bilateral issues will have to be sorted: Indo-Pak will have to clear the air, Pakistan and Central Asian states will have to reach understandings, and Iran and the US will have to start negotiating. This way, Afghanistan is not only a problem, it becomes a trigger for regional problem solving. This is one of the most doable and productive aspects of the Obama policy for Af-Pak.

Fallacies of Swat deal (Nizam-i-Adl Regulation)

The ANP thought that the deal would be contained within Swat, but that was very misguided thinking. The Taliban have an expansionist agenda. They make deals in one areas so that they can secure it and then move into other areas. There has also been no cessation of their killing of ANP and other government officials and they have not agreed to lay down their arms. Instead of achieving anything, the Swat deal formalises a different form of law and governance for one part of Pakistan, thus weakening the government.

The law in Swat is Taliban law, and it’s nonsense to say that the Swatis have been practicing Sharia for decades. The Taliban law has nothing to do with the mild form of Sufi-influenced Sharia that Swatis have had from 1960s.

Government was definitely taken by surprise by the speed with which Taliban moved on from Swat to Buner, Dir, etc. They will not stop and government should realise their ultimate goal of toppling Islamabad. To that end, the operation in Swat is welcome. But the question is: will it be a sustained offensive?

Also, there are already one million IDPs who have escaped from Fata and northern areas. If the army is seriously going to tackle Taliban menace, it must learn counter-insurgency tactics and get the right equipment to target Taliban without damaging entire villages.

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Social networks may help find connections between people behind terrorist attacks

Posted by :) on May 5, 2009

Washington, May 5 (ANI): Researchers have developed a new approach to analyzing social networks, which could help find the covert connections between the people behind terrorist attacks.

The approach involves revealing the nodes that act as hubs in a terrorist network and tracing back to individual planners and perpetrators.

Dr Yoshiharu Maeno, Founder Management Consultant of the Social Design Group and Dr Yukio Ohsawa, Associate Professor at the School of Engineering, University of Tokyo, Japan, explain that their analytical approach to understanding terrorist networks could ultimately help prevent future attacks.

Terrorist attacks can cause significant loss of life, have intense social and environmental impacts, and large economic losses.

Maeno and Ohsawa explain that responding to a terrorist attack is akin to dealing with a natural disaster, with one important difference.

Disaster recovery management is required with both, but in the case of a terrorist attack, there is the added pressure of short-term responses to the terrorists themselves and in the long-term the need to identify and weaken the covert foundation underpinning an organized attack.

According to the team, by combining the prior understanding of expert investigators with graph theory and computational data processing, it should be possible to analyze a terrorist network and reveal latent connections and patterns.

The researchers have carried out such an analysis of the network responsible for the 9/11 attacks in 2001 in order to evaluate the performance of their approach.

Fundamentally, their technique is a mathematical one involving “node” discovery.

The nodes of a network are the hubs at which different members of the network are connected.

Usually, ordinary members have one or two connections, nodes can have several and the critical nodes, the hubs, have many more.

Major hubs, such as the big search engine companies, such as Google and Yahoo, news sources like CNN and the BBC, and social media networks such as Facebook and MySpace have many connections.

These big nodes act as the hubs through which individual and smaller sites are interconnected.

The team’s computational analysis of the terrorist network associated with the 9/11 attacks revealed nodes that were not apparent to security experts in advance of the attacks.

Such latent nodes appear to have been critical to the attacks, but superficially do not appear to be particularly important individuals acting as hubs.

Having network insights sooner rather than later would allow investigators to gather information on associates, friends, and relatives of a suspect terrorist and so bring the perpetrators to justice that much sooner or perhaps even unravel a network plotting future attacks. (ANI)


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Posted by :) on May 4, 2009

Source- TOI

STOP THIS NOW: Protestors in Jammu raise slogans against Pakistani government and Taliban during protest over harassment of Sikhs and Hindus and forcible extortion of jazia from them by Taliban in Pakistan on Sunday

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US gives Pakistan two weeks time to eliminate Taliban

Posted by :) on May 2, 2009

Washington, May 1 (IANS) Stepping up pressure on Pakistan to take concrete action against the Taliban, the US has given Islamabad two weeks time to eliminate the insurgents from its soil before Washington determines what it will do next.

General David Petraeus, who heads the US Central Command, has told US officials that the coming two weeks would be ‘critical to determining whether the Pakistani government will survive’, Fox News reported.

‘The Pakistanis have run out of excuses’ and are ‘finally getting serious’ about combating the threat from Taliban and Al Qaeda extremists operating out of the country’s northwest, the general said.

Criticising Pakistan’s attitude towards fighting the insurgents, Petraeus said ‘we have heard it all before’ that Pakistan was doing its best to eliminate the Taliban threat.

He said that he is looking forward to see concrete action by Islamabad in the next two weeks before determining the US’ next course of action, which is presently set on propping up the Pakistani government and military with counter-insurgency training and aid.

Petraeus made these assessment in talks with lawmakers and Obama administration officials this week, the news channel reported, citing people familiar with the discussions.

The sources also told the channel that no one in Washington has an ‘understanding of Taliban’s true objective’.

It remains unclear to policymakers here whether the Taliban wants to overthrow the Zardari government or merely to carve out territory within Pakistan in which it can establish safe haven, impose Sharia law, and plot attacks against external targets.

Indo Asian News Service

Posted in Pakistan ISI, Pakistani ARMY, Pakistani Identity, Pakistani terrorists, Past terrorist attacks, plan to tackle terror, Suicide Bomber, Taliban, Terror Camps, Terrorism, Terrorist attack, Terrosist Organizations | Leave a Comment »

PAKISTAN – “Taliban a Nuclear Nightmare “

Posted by :) on May 1, 2009

Nuclear-armed Pakistan is unraveling at a frightening pace and if it doesn’t worry you, it should.  Imagine al Qaeda having it’s finger on the button of up to one  hundred nuclear missiles and you quickly get an idea of the mortal danger (as Hilary Clinton called it earler this week) the world is facing should Pakistan fall. Amazingly, most Americans seem unaware or simply unconcerned.

UPDATE: The Taleban say they will withdraw from a Pakistani district where their consolidation of power this week has caused deep concern in the US. A Taleban spokesman said commander Maulana Fazlullah had issued the order for fighters to pull back from the north-western district of Buner.
The US has accused officials in Pakistan of abdicating to the Taleban.

The Taleban have agreed a peace deal bringing Sharia law to some districts in return for ending their insurgency. Taleban spokesman Muslim Khan said: “Our leader has ordered that Taleban should immediately be called back from Buner.”

Will the Taliban pull out? Probably. Will this be the end of their drive for power over Pakistan? Probably not. In fact, the pullout is probably more strategic than anything else, but time will tell.

Equally alarming, Pakistan’s leaders appear far less concerned than their American counterparts.

You have to wonder what they’re thinking in Islamabad, the capital. Rather than fighting back against Taliban militants, the government of Asif Ali Zardari (who became president after his wife, Benazir Bhutto, was murdered by extremists) has been acquiescing, in a deluded belief it can appease its way to peace.

It can’t. Recent evidence ought to be a jolting, 11th-hour wake-up call. After gaining control of the Swat Valley, a once-prosperous tourist haven 100 miles from the capital, and getting government permission to impose harsh Islamic law, the Taliban is on the move. It is newly in charge of the Buner region, just 60 miles from Islamabad.

The Taliban’s ambitions are no secret. Two prominent clerics have broadcast their intent to spread Islamic rule throughout the country. The implications of that are captured on an Internet video showing the public flogging in Swat of a woman suspected of adultery.

The stakes for the United States are enormous. Taliban forces attack U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan from their havens along the Pakistan border. That is where Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders behind 9/11 are thought to have refuge and be plotting new attacks. The ultimate nightmare is that extremists will gain access to Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

The United States is stepping up efforts to prod official Pakistan out of its denial. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Wednesday that Pakistan’s government is “basically abdicating to the Taliban.” Some Pakistaniofficials are belatedly beginning to acknowledge that appeasement does not work. But saying the right things under U.S. pressure falls short of effective action.

Source – USA Today

3 a.m Wake Up Call

The failure of Pakistani political leadership to stem the Taliban’s tide now brings Washington’s 3 a.m. wake-up call – nuclear weapons in the hands of extremists – closer than ever to becoming reality. The United States has given its allies in Islamabad political and financial assistance in every way possible for far too long with too few meaningful constraints, only to watch Pakistan destroy itself.

Source CSN

Does Pakistan’s Taliban Surge Raise a Nuclear Threat?

The prospect of turmoil in Pakistan sends shivers up the spines of those U.S. officials charged with keeping tabs on foreign nuclear weapons. Pakistan is thought to possess about 100 — the U.S. isn’t sure of the total, and may not know where all of them are. Still, if Pakistan collapses, the U.S. military is primed to enter the country and secure as many of those weapons as it can, according to U.S. officials.


The Taliban’s Nuclear Threat

As insurgents close in on Islamabad, The Daily Beast’s Gerald Posner reports that Taliban forces are on the verge of seizing Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal—which has the capability to hit India, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq.

This morning, Taliban units took control of the Buner region of Pakistan, bringing their burgeoning insurgency within 60 miles of the capital city of Islamabad. The government called the advance a breach of a recently signed peace agreement. But what did they expect? Any store owner who has faced ever-increasing protection payments to local gangsters could have told the Pakistanis that their recent string of capitulations to the Taliban—striking peace deals and ceding territory—was doomed to failure.

You think the stock market looks bad over the last two years? Let a Taliban spokesman announce that Mullah Omar has his finger on the Islamic Bomb.

The Taliban advance should be causing high Richter-scale reactions inside the Obama White House. Counterterrorism officials have long warned that al Qaeda is desperate to obtain weapons of mass destruction. Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is in play if the Taliban insurgency should unseat the government of Asif Ali Zadari.

Pakistan has been a member of the nuclear club since in 1987. Intelligence estimates are that the country now has between 50 and 100 nuclear missiles that can travel 1,200 miles. That places much of India, Saudi Arabia, and eastern Iraq within range. With slight improvements in the rockets’ booster phase—not a difficult technological advance—Jerusalem could be hit.

The Daily Beast

Pakistan Paramilitary Force Routed as Taliban Militants Extend Control Towards Islamabad

The fall of Buner does not pose an immediate threat to Islamabad. The capital lies across a mountain range and the river Indus. But the speed and aggression of the latest advance has stoked a sense of panic among Pakistan’s western allies, and, increasingly, at home.

On Wednesday the US secretary of state, Hilary Clinton, accused President Asif Ali Zardari’s government of “basically abdicating to the Taliban and the extremists”. After an outcry from Pakistani officials, she modified her tone yesterday, conceding there was an “increasing awareness” of the threat within government circles.

Sam Zarifi of Amnesty International said the government had left the 650,000 residents of Buner, particularly women and children, “at the mercy” of the Taliban.


Israel: Pakistan Nukes Could Fall To Taliban

A day after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that the Pakistani government was ceding ground to the Taliban, a top Israeli defense official expressed concern on Thursday that the country’s nuclear arsenal would fall into extremist hands and be used to threaten Israel.
Pakistan is believed to have several dozen nuclear warheads.

On Wednesday, in testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Clinton said the Pakistani government was losing control of the country.

“I think we cannot underscore [enough] the seriousness of the existential threat posed to the state of Pakistan by the continuing [Islamist] advances,” Clinton said, adding that an unstable and nuclear-armed Pakistan would pose a “mortal threat” to the United States and other countries.

Israeli defense officials said that while Pakistan was farther away than Iran, Israel needed to be concerned with the political upset there.

Source :


Posted in AF-PAK, All Muslims are not terrorists, Pakistani ARMY, Pakistani Identity, Pakistani terrorists, Past terrorist attacks, PoK, Terror Camps, Terror Target, Terrorism, TERROSIST ATTACK, Terrosist Organizations | Leave a Comment »

India fixation of Pakistan is misguided: US

Posted by :) on May 1, 2009

Source :  Chidanand Rajghatta |TNN

Washington: US President Barack Obama on Wednesday said the stubborn onslaught by the Taliban inside Pakistan had forced a rethink within that country’s military establishment that it’s the Islamist militias — not India — who pose a mortal threat to Pakistan.
“On the military side, you’re starting to see some recognition just in the last few days that the obsession with India as the mortal threat to Pakistan has been misguided, and that their biggest threat right now comes internally,’’ Obama said. Pakistan has moved about 6,000 troops from its border with India.

Pak government very fragile, says Obama Washington Can Make Sure That Islamabad’s Nukes Are Secure, Contingency Plan Is In Place
Washington: At a White House press conference to mark his first 100 days in office, President Barack Obama said he was concerned Zardari’s government was not in a position to cater to the basic needs of the citizenry. “The civilian government there right now is very fragile and don’t seem to have the capacity to deliver basic services: schools, healthcare, rule of law, a judicial system that works for the majority of the people.’’
It was a surprisingly blunt vote of no-confidence in a civilian government ahead of Zardari’s visit. There has been speculation in some quarters that Washington is not averse to another military takeover if the civilian government does not assert itself over the extremists. “… You’re starting to see the Pakistani military take much more seriously the armed threat from militant extremists,’’ he said, referring to this week’s offensive on the Taliban terrorists who had captured areas in Buner, about 100 km from Islamabad, and Dir.

“We want to continue to encourage Pakistan to move in that direction, and we will provide them all the cooperation that we can,’’ he added. The President seemed to be referring to the reported movement of some 6,000 Pakistani troops from the border with India to its western areas to take on
the Taliban, even as he made the case for a large civilian and military aid package for Pakistan that Congress is going to take up in the next few days, ahead of the visit to Washington next weekend by President Asif Ali Zardari.
Obama also said Washington “can make sure
that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is secure’’. He expressed confidence about US control over Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, perhaps through military-to-military cooperation, in the face of extremist advances in the country. In the process, he also hinted that Washington had contingency plans to handle the situation if it went out of Islamabad’s hands.
Asked if he could reassure the American people that, if necessary, US could secure Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and keep it from getting into the Taliban’s hands, Obama replied: “I’m confident that we can make sure that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is secure, primarily, initially, because the Pakistani army, I think, recognizes the hazards of those weapons falling into the wrong hands.’’ The carefully calibrated reply referring to primary security appeared to suggest the US has secondary back-up plans in the event of any exigencies, something the intelligence analysts’ community has long considered inevitable.
When the reporter followed up to seek
a more precise answer, asking if in the worst case scenario, the US military could secure the nuclear weapons, Obama responded crisply: “I’m not going to engage in hypotheticals of that sort. I feel confident that that nuclear arsenal will remain out of militant hands. Okay?’’ There is strong pressure on Pakistan from Washington to deploy regular troops rather than its constabulary or para-military in the battles against the Taliban, but Islamabad is said to be desisting, holding out for greater military aid and equipment to carry out the task.
There is considerable tension between the two sides on this issue, and a perceptible lack of trust in Washington about Pakistan’s claims that it is routing the extremists and re-established control in the territories it has lost to them. The suggestion here is that Pakistan is shadow boxing to ensure the US aid package gets through and its military was yet to get rid of its India fixation.
At a separate briefing earlier in the day, a state department spokesman said the US was “happy to see Pakistan taking these types of steps. They need to continue to confront these violent extremists.’’
Pakistan’s histrionics vis-a-vis India was also the subject of a scathing review by vice-president Joe Biden at a separate engagement in Houston where he was quoted as saying Islamabad needs a “cultural change’’ to view that India not as its enemy. On one issue, however, Obama was unrelenting: the Predator strikes. “We want to respect their sovereignty, but we also recognize that we have huge strategic interests, huge national security interests, in making sure that Pakistan is stable and that you don’t end up having a nuclear-armed militant state,’’ he said.

In an extraordinary censure of the Pakistani government, the US President on Thursday said the embattled country was not in a position to deliver even basic services to its people
Obama said he is committed to fulfill his election promise of immigration reform
More Americans will lose jobs and face tough times before the recession is out, Obama said
Obama has signalled he is operating under the assumption that Osama bin Laden is still alive, despite remarks by Pakistan’s President saying intelligence service believes the al-Qaeda leader has died

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