Is Pakistan’s double game wearing thin? Or will business as usual return once the attention on the Times Square bombing attempt fades? “U.S. Urges Action in Pakistan After Failed Bombing,” by Jane Perlez for the New York Times, May 8:
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The Obama administration has delivered new and stiff warnings to Pakistan after the failed Times Square car bombing that it must urgently move against the nexus of Islamic militancy in the country’s lawless tribal regions, American and Pakistani officials said.
The American military commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, met with the Pakistani military chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, at his headquarters here on Friday and urged Pakistan to move more quickly in beginning a military offensive against the Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in North Waziristan, Americans and Pakistanis familiar with the visit said. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the delicacy of continuing diplomatic efforts here.
The Pakistani-American man who admitted to the Times Square attack, Faisal Shahzad, 30, told American investigators that he had received training in North Waziristan, the main base for the Pakistani Taliban, Al Qaeda and other militant groups.
The new pressure from Washington was characterized by both the Pakistani and American officials as a sharp turnaround from the relatively polite encouragement adopted by the Obama administration in recent months. And it comes amid increasing debate within the administration about how to expand the American military’s influence — and even a boots-on-the-ground presence — on Pakistani soil.
Though the bombing in Times Square failed, Mr. Shahzad’s ability to move back and forth between the United States and Pakistan has heightened fears in the Obama administration that another attempt at a terrorist attack could succeed.
“We are saying, ‘Sorry, if there is a successful attack, we will have to act’ ” within Pakistan, one of the American officials said.
That issue has been a source of growing tension between the countries. Pakistani officials, already alarmed by the increase in American drone aircraft attacks against militants in northwestern Pakistan, have been extremely sensitive about any hint that American ground troops could become involved in the fight. And attempts by the United States to increase the presence of Special Operations forces there even in an advisory or training role have been met with great resistance by the Pakistanis.
The Pakistani military has stepped up its campaigns against militants in the past year, including an offensive in South Waziristan that has been praised by American officials. It has said that it is preparing to take up the fight against militants in North Waziristan. But Pakistani officials have insisted that the expanded campaign will happen completely on their own terms, and they have warned the Obama administration not to push so hard that it uses up the good will it has tried to foster here.
But the Americans’ urgency has been increasing on multiple fronts. With an intensified American military campaign raging against the Taliban next door in Afghanistan, and now with the renewed evidence of Pakistani sources for plots to attack on American soil, it was clear the Pakistani government had to do more, and more urgently, a senior American official said Saturday.
General Kayani, with whom General McChrystal has forged a positive relationship, was essentially told, ” ‘You can’t pretend any longer that this is not going on,’ ” another American official said. ” ‘We are saying you have got to go into North Waziristan.’”…