Car bomb in Pakistan greets Hillary visit

A nation that possesses more than 70 nuclear weapons is suffering from a murderous string of terrorist attacks that have thrown the nation into chaos while carrying out military offensives on both sides of its border.

Is there a more frightening prospect than a victory by the Taliban in Pakistan?

Meanwhile, Obama is playing B-ball with his friends and dithering over what to do in Afghanistan while the Taliban there grow ever bolder:

In the Afghan capital, Kabul, Taliban militants stormed a guesthouse, killing five United Nations employees and three other people in a furious two-hour siege. The attack was meant to scare Afghans away from voting in a runoff election on Nov. 7 between President Hamid Karzai and his challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, a Taliban spokesman said.

The news from Pakistan is even more grim, according to a New York Times piece by Mark Landler and Ismail Khan:

Militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan punctuated Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's arrival here with deadly attacks on Wednesday, underscoring their ability to cause chaos even in the face of offensives on both sides of the border.

In Pakistan, a devastating car bomb tore through a congested market in the northwest city of Peshawar, killing as many as 101 people, many of them women and children. Pakistani authorities said the attack was the country's most serious in two years, and the deadliest ever in Peshawar, which has become a front line for Taliban efforts to destabilize the government through violence.


[...]


The violence cast a shadow over the visit of Mrs. Clinton, who was meeting with government ministers in Islamabad, 90 miles southwest of Peshawar, when news of the Peshawar explosion came over television screens. Mrs. Clinton immediately condemned the bombing, which in killing women and children in Peshawar seemed aimed at the very constituencies she has championed in her travels to other developing countries."These attacks on innocent people are cowardly; they are not courageous, they are cowardly," Mrs. Clinton said at a news conference with the Pakistani foreign minister, her voice raw with anger.

"They know they are on the losing side of history," she said of the militants. "But they are determined to take as many lives with them as their movement is finally exposed for the nihilistic, empty effort it is."


The government in Pakistan is shaky. The rickety coalition built by President Zardari is torn about what to do, going back and forth over whether to attack the Taliban in their mountain hideouts in the NWFP or negotiate. Right now, the Pakistani army is attacking, which has the Taliban fighting back by setting off these huge bombs trying to kill as many civilians as possible.

I'm not sure what the US could or should be doing. About the best we can do is not inflame the situation further. This we have done with varying degrees of success. But these constant attacks on civilians is going to wear the government down until eventually, they will probably take the negotiated route.

 




A nation that possesses more than 70 nuclear weapons is suffering from a murderous string of terrorist attacks that have thrown the nation into chaos while carrying out military offensives on both sides of its border.

Is there a more frightening prospect than a victory by the Taliban in Pakistan?

Meanwhile, Obama is playing B-ball with his friends and dithering over what to do in Afghanistan while the Taliban there grow ever bolder:

In the Afghan capital, Kabul, Taliban militants stormed a guesthouse, killing five United Nations employees and three other people in a furious two-hour siege. The attack was meant to scare Afghans away from voting in a runoff election on Nov. 7 between President Hamid Karzai and his challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, a Taliban spokesman said.

The news from Pakistan is even more grim, according to a New York Times piece by Mark Landler and Ismail Khan:

Militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan punctuated Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's arrival here with deadly attacks on Wednesday, underscoring their ability to cause chaos even in the face of offensives on both sides of the border.

In Pakistan, a devastating car bomb tore through a congested market in the northwest city of Peshawar, killing as many as 101 people, many of them women and children. Pakistani authorities said the attack was the country's most serious in two years, and the deadliest ever in Peshawar, which has become a front line for Taliban efforts to destabilize the government through violence.


[...]


The violence cast a shadow over the visit of Mrs. Clinton, who was meeting with government ministers in Islamabad, 90 miles southwest of Peshawar, when news of the Peshawar explosion came over television screens. Mrs. Clinton immediately condemned the bombing, which in killing women and children in Peshawar seemed aimed at the very constituencies she has championed in her travels to other developing countries.

"These attacks on innocent people are cowardly; they are not courageous, they are cowardly," Mrs. Clinton said at a news conference with the Pakistani foreign minister, her voice raw with anger.

"They know they are on the losing side of history," she said of the militants. "But they are determined to take as many lives with them as their movement is finally exposed for the nihilistic, empty effort it is."


The government in Pakistan is shaky. The rickety coalition built by President Zardari is torn about what to do, going back and forth over whether to attack the Taliban in their mountain hideouts in the NWFP or negotiate. Right now, the Pakistani army is attacking, which has the Taliban fighting back by setting off these huge bombs trying to kill as many civilians as possible.

I'm not sure what the US could or should be doing. About the best we can do is not inflame the situation further. This we have done with varying degrees of success. But these constant attacks on civilians is going to wear the government down until eventually, they will probably take the negotiated route.