Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics
It’s still not firmly established whether any Pakistan-based militant groups were involved in the failed car bombing in New York this month and there have been renewed suggestions that the suspect Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani-American, may have been a lone wolf.
But this hasn’t stopped the soul-searching that Pakistanis have engaged in since the failed attack on May 1. Indeed, it’s not just the United States or other countries in the west urging Pakistan to act against militants; the Pakistanis are as forthright, if not more demanding that the whole ‘terrorist infrastructure” be taken down.
Here’s an excerpt from an editorial from The Dawn: “Sadly, our security establishment only acts when Pakistani or Pakistan-based militants attack or threaten to attack others and we, in turn, are threatened with “severe consequences”. These groups pose a danger to Pakistan more than to anyone else. When cornered they have no qualms about turning their guns on the state and its citizens. Created in the Zia era and nurtured by elements in the intelligence agencies, the jihadi infrastructure has spiralled out of control, and action is necessary before matters become even worse.”
The Daily Times said it was time Pakistan took on the Afghan Haqqani network operating out of North Waziristan, which has long been seen to be close to the Pakistani security establishment. “The Haqqani network, considered an ‘asset’ for Pakistan in its ‘strategic depth’ policy in a post-US Afghanistan, has been given a free hand for far too long now. Haqqani has not only given a safe haven to the al Qaeda leadership in North Waziristan but is also involved in providing assistance to the Punjabi terrorists.”
(C. Uday Bhaskar is a New Delhi-based strategic analyst. The views expressed in the column are his own).
By C. Uday Bhaskar
The May 12 summit meeting in the White House between visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his host, U.S. President Barack Obama comes against the backdrop of the mercifully aborted May 1 terrorist bombing incident in New York’s Times Square.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned Pakistan of ‘severe consequences” if a future attack on the U.S. homeland is traced back to Pakistani militant groups.
It’s the kind of language that harks back to the Bush administration when they threatened to “bomb Pakistan to the Stone Age” if it didn’t cooperate in the war against al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban following the Sept. 11 attacks. Pakistan fell in line, turning on militant groups, some of whom with close ties to the security establishment.
Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistan-born American charged with trying to bomb New York, may have failed in his objective, but one unintended consequence of his act may well be that a plan to reach out to insurgents in Afghanistan has been blown out of the water.
To be sure the Afghan Taliban which is entirely focused on fighting foreign forces in their homeland has nothing to do with the failed Times Square bombing. It is the Pakistani Taliban that claimed responsibility initially and the suspected bomber’s links to the group and another Pakistan-based group fighting Indian forces in Kashmir are being investigated.
from Pakistan: Now or Never?:
After the media frenzy following last weekend's failed car bomb attack on Times Square, you would be forgiven for thinking that something dramatic is about to change in Pakistan. The reality, however, is probably going to be much greyer.
Much attention has naturally focused on North Waziristan, a bastion for al Qaeda, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Afghan fighters including those in the Haqqani network, and the so-called "Punjabi Taliban" - militants from Punjab-based groups who have joined the battle either in Afghanistan or against the Pakistani state. The Pakistan Army is expected to come under fresh pressure to launch an offensive in North Waziristan after Faisal Shahzad, who according to U.S. authorities admitted to the failed car-bombing in Times Square, said he had received training in Waziristan. Unlike other parts of the tribal areas on the Pakistan-Afghan border, North Waziristan has so far been left largely alone.
Pakistan has come under renewed spotlight following the arrest of a U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent for a failed bombing in New York’s Times Square and claims of responsibility by the Pakistani Taliban.
It is too early to confirm the plot was tied to any of a multitude of militant groups operating in Pakistan. Indeed, security experts have been sceptical about the claim by the Pakistan Taliban saying they doubt it has the reach to strike in Manhattan.