Pakistan between two poles of terrorism

At least 20 people were killed early March 30 as gunmen stormed a Pakistani police training school near Lahore. The attackers remain in control of the complex, and are exchanging fire with security forces. The assailants apparently entered the complex dressed in police uniforms. (AFP, BBC World Service, March 30)

The crisis comes the day after comments by President Barack Obama were broadcast, saying the US will consult with Pakistan before raiding militant bases on Pakistani territory. “If we have a high-value target within our sights, after consulting with Pakistan, we’re going after them,” Obama said in an interview on CBS TV’s “Face the Nation” program. “But our main thrust has to be to help Pakistan defeat these extremists.”

“Our plan does not change the recognition of Pakistan as a sovereign government,” Obama said in the interview taped on March 27. “We need to work with them and through them to deal with al-Qaeda. But we have to hold them much more accountable.” (Bloomberg, March 30)

It is uncertain if Obama’s comments referred to the ongoing US drone strikes on Pakistan.

See our last post on Pakistan.

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  1. Lahore attack planned in South Waziristan?
    Security forces have regained control of the academy, and later reports have downgraded the death toll to eight, with 20 wounded. Rehman Malik, the interior ministry chief, said that the attack was planned in South Waziristan. “This is an attack on Pakistan. There are two choices: to either let the Taliban take over your country or to fight it out,” he said. (AlJazeera, March 18)

  2. Conspiracy vultures descend on Pakistan
    Here we go again. From the annoyingly named Citizens for Legitimate Government:

    ‘Dead’ Pakistan Taleban Chief Takes Credit for Lahore Terror Attack –What could possibly be the motive for this dialup from the dead?
    It’s a miracle! Pakistan Taleban chief Baitullah Mehsud — who supposedly died from kidney failure six months ago — takes credit for three recent deadly terror attacks, including Monday’s attack on a police academy in Lahore. He spoke to the BBC by phone. Meanwhile, Gen. David Petraeus [Betrayus] said Monday in an interview with FOX News, that the U.S. military reserves the ‘right of last resort’ for threats inside Pakistan.

    The same error over and over. The voluminous reports indicating Baitullah Mehsud is alive are a priori dismissed as disinformation. The one claiming he is dead is arbitrarily assumed to be the truth.

    They believe this jive for one reason and one reason only: because they want to.

  3. Baitullah Mehsud: the new Osama?
    This is why it is so tragic that Obama is still bombing Pakistan. It gives Baitullah Mehsud and his ilk that much more legitimacy. From the London Times, April 1:

    Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taleban, threatened yesterday to launch an attack on Washington that would “amaze everyone in the world” as he claimed responsibility for the raid on a police academy in Lahore and boasted of a new regional militant alliance.

    Mr Mehsud, for whom the United States offered a $5 million reward last week, said that Monday’s raid, which killed seven police officers, was retaliation for US drone attacks on Pakistan’s northern tribal areas, now the main hub of Taleban and al-Qaeda activity.

    The 35-year-old leader of Tehrik-e-Taleban Pakistan (Movement of Taleban Pakistan), made the claims after taking the highly unusual step of telephoning Western news organisations from an undisclosed location.

    “We wholeheartedly take responsibility for this attack and will carry out more such attacks in future,” he said. “Soon we will launch an attack in Washington that will amaze everyone in the world … The maximum they can do is martyr me. But we will exact our revenge on them from inside America.”

    The New York Times added this line to the quote:

    “It’s revenge for the drone attacks on Pakistan,” he said.

    The Times tells us that US drone missile strikes April 1 targeted Mehsud, killing ten (but not Mehsud) in Orakzai Agency of the Tribal Areas. It was the first drone strike in Orakzai.

  4. US bombs Pakistan —again
    At least 13 were reportedly killed and six others injured in a suspected US drone strike in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan April 4. According to sources, missiles hit a house of a local tribesman, killing several people on the spot, including some foreign militants. (AKI, April 4)