Pakistan: US mulls intervention, terror escalates

A Los Angeles Times report, “US debates going after militants in Pakistan,” mostly quotes unnamed US officials as saying direct intervention in Pakistan is being viewed with greater seriousness as the country spins out of control. One attributed quote is from Adm. Michael G. Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said some two months ago a team of up to 30 advisors would be sent to Pakistan this summer to operate out of a base near Peshawar, where a “significant number” of Pakistani military and Frontier Corps personnel would be put through a counterinsurgency training program. (LAT, Aug. 23)

A suicide car bombing at a police station in Chaharbagh, Mohib Ullahn, Swat Valley (NWFP), killed at least six officers Aug. 23. Later, Pakistani troops killed 35 fighters after they ambushed a patrol in the Swat Valley, the military said. Four soldiers were also killed. That same day, a bomb rigged to a bicycle went off near a vehicle carrying a senior police investigator in the southern city of Karachi, wounding four people. (AP, AlJazeera, Aug. 23)

An Aug. 21 suicide attack on the Pakistan Ordnance Factories, a complex of more than 16 arms plants near Islamabad, killed at least 64 people—the deadliest attack claimed by the Taliban since they began hitting Pakistani government sites with suicide bombers more than 18 months ago. Pakistanis suffered 56 suicide attacks last year, killing more than 400 civilians. The previous biggest attack came during the election campaign in February, when a suicide bomber at a rally in the tribal areas killed 55 people, according to a tally by the daily newspaper Dawn. (NYT, Aug. 22)

See our last post on Pakistan.