`Peshawar attack to strengthen US-Pak partnership`

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 6, 2010 - 15:58

Washington: The terrorist attack on the
US Consulate in Peshawar is likely to strengthen the
partnership between the Obama Administration and Islamabad in
confronting Islamist extremists in the region, a well-known
American expert on South Asia said today.

"Today`s joint attacks will likely strengthen the
partnership between Pakistan and the US in confronting
Islamist extremists bent on weakening the Pakistani state and
breaking US-Pakistan ties," Lisa Curtis of the Heritage
Foundation, a Washington-based think-tank said.

"Indeed the attacks follow closely on the heels of the
first-ever high-level strategic dialogue between the two
countries, which spotlighted the US interest in building a
strong, long-lasting partnership with Pakistan," she said.

Though there has been previous attack on the US Consulate
in Peshawar earlier too, Curtis of the Heritage Foundation,
said yesterday`s attack represented a far bolder attempt to
penetrate the Consulate itself.

"The US had already fortified security at the Consulate
to avert such an attempt. Even though no US casualties have
been reported thus far, today`s violence will prompt even more
stringent security measures for US officials and a likely
drawdown of diplomatic staff," she said.

Curtis said these latest attacks on both US and Pakistani
interests are aimed at demonstrating that the Pakistani
Taliban remains a force to be reckoned with, despite the
pressure on its leadership from the drones.

"While Pakistanis have in the past objected to the US
drones as an infringement on its sovereignty, these protests
have died down in recent months as Pakistanis increasingly see
that the US is targeting enemies of the Pakistani state, she
said.

Meanwhile, another think-tank, Stratfor said the Pakistan
Taliban, which claimed responsible for the attack, could see
the attack as a success, since it forced the US presence out
of the city (at least temporarily) without causing massive
casualties among the local population.

"If this is the beginning of a new Tehrik-i-Taliban
Pakistan campaign, follow-up attacks likely could shift to
softer target such as the ISI, the police or the military or
very soft targets such as hotels, markets or transportation,
all of which have been frequent targets in the past," it said.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, April 6, 2010 - 15:58

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