The attack in Peshawar


Terrorists out and about

With the army on the offensive in tribal areas, hitting the militants where it hurts them most, the TTP finds it difficult to operate beyond FATA and the cities in its vicinity. It is, however, conducting frantic attacks wherever it can like a wounded beast. What adds to its frustration is that its area of operations inside Pakistan is becoming increasingly restricted. Fata being the center of the extremist militancy, most of the terrorists’ attacks are now concentrated in the cities located in the vicinity of the tribal belt. Peshawar has become a common target of attacks. The Monday suicide attack on a SUV carrying the US diplomats in the city was aimed at boosting up the sagging morale of the terrorists. The high value target was chosen because the report of the incident was sure to make above-the-fold news in the media. With a vehicle laden with 100 to 110 kgs of explosives ramming straight into the SUV, only a miracle could have saved anyone. The immediate action by the security forces to pull the survivors away to safety however was quite helpful.

Among other things, the loss of reach is causing financial problems to the TTP. Two years back the militants could strike in any big city of Pakistan at will. To raise funds, they indulged in scores of bank heists and kidnapped hundreds of businessmen for ransom. With the agencies becoming increasingly vigilant, the terrorists find it hard now to cross over into Punjab and Sindh. There are reports which indicate that they are planning to make fresh forays aimed at raising funds through traditional means and launching terrorist attacks on the population centers, on minorities and the security personnel. Further, they intend to target the jails to get their arrested accomplices released. The reports must receive serious attention that they deserve. What is required is a full-fledged operation, preferably in coordination with the US, to eradicate the militants from the tribal agencies where they have set up safe havens, training facilities and stores of weapons and ammunition. While conducting the operation, the security agencies have to be put on high alert to foil the militant’s designs in urban centers of the country.

With extremist militancy spreading to Africa and the Arabian peninsula, and the terrorists focusing on targets in Europe, the world is increasingly becoming a dangerous place to live. There is a need on the part of the international community to fully cooperate with the countries which are fighting the threat, Pakistan being foremost amongst them.