Despite what US and Pakistani officials call a marked improvement in cooperation, the attempted Times Square bombing has highlighted the mistrust that still plagues their partnership.
US officials have praised Pakistan for its swift work in tracing Pakistani American suspect Faisal Shahzad’s local ties as well as its ongoing military operations against the domestic Taliban, but they also want the nation to do more to curb other extremist groups that preach jihad and offer help to would-be terrorists.
US allegations on Sunday that Shahzad received help from Pakistani Taliban militants in the country’s northwestalso seem likely to put pressure on Pakistan to launch army operations in the tribal region of North Waziristan. Until now,army leaders have resisted, partly because troops are bogged down in other anti-Taliban actions and partly because an offensive could turn friendly local fighters against the state.
A Pakistani security official said senior officials are contemplating an offensive in North Waziristan because the Pakistani Taliban is gaining strength there and more malleable militant groups are losing control. He said that Pakistani thinking on North Waziristan has nothing to do with the attempted New York attack but rather that the presence of “terrorists” there is “a huge problem that needs to be addressed.”
Many Pakistanis have condemned the attempted bombing, saying Shahzad’s alleged actions were un-Islamic and hurt both countries. But in editorials, sermons and protests, activists have blamed the West for spotlighting Pakistan as a source of terrorism because of one incident.
The Nation newspaper, an outlet for nationalist views, declared, “It is crystal clear that the US government is always behind such planted arrests.”
Although most experts and politicians dismissed the conspiracy theories, they too complained that the incident has tarred Pakistan's reputation.
In collaboration with The Washington Post