A Taliban suicide bomber assassinated a top-ranking Pakistani security official and key US ally on Wednesday, adding to a string of crisis here that have raised alarm in recent days over whether the government can cope.
Severe flooding across the northwest, in particular, threatens to take Pakistani leaders’ attention away from efforts to eliminate key Al Qaeda and Taliban sanctuaries.
Pakistani officials insist that they are doing their best with limited resources to assist flood victims and that their efforts will not detract from the fight against extremist groups. But US officials say they are concerned that the flood could become a major internal catastrophe if more is not done to help the victims.
With the government already facing political turmoil, such a crisis could be destabilising for Pakistan, officials say, and would eliminate all hope of persuading the nation’s military to step up efforts against insurgent groups that use Pakistan as a base from which to attack US troops in Afghanistan.
Since last week, Pakistan has endured its worst air crash, its most devastating floods in living memory, its deadliest ethnic riots this year and now the killing of a commander known for his vigour in hunting insurgents.
While not all connected, the confluence of so many disasters — both natural and man-made — has appeared to overwhelm a government that has trouble performing basic services even during the best of times.
“It is all too much,” said Javed Hussain, a security analyst and retired Pakistani general. “The problems are big, but the leaders are small.” Pakistan’s northwest, where the flooding has been concentrated, is also the area where militant groups are most active.
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Pakistan’s inaction against 26/11 attackers froze Indo-Pak talks: US
Pakistan’s lacklustre approach to bring to justice the 26/11 perpetrators has basically frozen Indo-Pak peace talks, an official US report said on Thursday, which also warned that the LeT remained a serious threat to Western interests.
US State Department’s annual ‘Country Reports on Terrorism for the year 2009’ said the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, said Pakistan’s FATA and northwest continues to be a “safe haven” for Al Qaeda and Afghan insurgents.
“In response to allegations of involvement by LeT in the Mumbai attacks, Pakistani officials cracked down on an LeT camp in Muzzafarabad and arrested or detained more than 50 LeT or JUD leaders in Punjab and elsewhere, but it subsequently released many of them. LeT remained a serious threat to Western interests,” the report released on Thursday said.