Once again a convoy of around 50 vehicles moving supplies up to Peshawar to be taken to Nato forces has been struck. The attack took place just beyond Islamabad, on the highway to Peshawar. No specific group has claimed responsibility — but it is safe to assume it was carried out by one of the many outfits associated with the Taliban militants. It is increasingly pointless to try and distinguish between these. They have assumed the form of a single monster, with no distinct shape or organisational structure, loosely tied together by a set of beliefs. These include bitter hatred for the US and a feeling that targeting Nato vehicles represents revenge for drone bombings in the tribal areas.
A question that arises is why has there been so complete a failure to offer security to the convoys that regularly pass along our roads on their way to the Pak-Afghan border. It is clear they are under threat. It should not be so hard to provide them adequate cover. Pakistan possesses a vast security apparatus on which huge amounts of money from taxpayers is spent. And we wonder why it struggles to perform its most basic duties.
There are other issues here. Ties between Pakistan and the US are among them. But it is clear that terrorist attacks of this nature offer no solutions. The reality is there will be no instant divorce from the US. There are also other ways of settling differences in opinion beyond attacks that have in the latest case led to the death of four people. The number of such deaths clearly does not matter to the perpetrators. Nor does the morality of what they do. The question for the authorities is how they can bring such acts of terrorism to an end. Simply ordering inquiries once they have occurred serves little purpose.
Published in the Express Tribune, June 10th, 2010.
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