From our This Is Why You’re Poor Department: “Pakistan: UN office attack is ‘warning’ about upcoming military operation,” from AdnKronos International, October 5:
Islamabad, 5 October (AKI) – By Syed Saleem Shahzad – At least four people died and five others were injured on Monday after a suicide attacker blew up his explosives at the offices of the United Nations World Food Programme in the Pakistani capital Islamabad.
Those killed in the blast include two Pakistani women identified as Farzana Barkat, an office assistant and Gulrukh Tahir, a receptionist as well as Boton Ahmed Ali, an Iraqi national and information and communication technology officer.
Pakistani national Abid Rehman, a senior finance assistance was also killed in the blast. All are WFP staff members.
There was no claim of responsibility for the attack, which appears to be a warning to the government about an upcoming military operation in the lawless South Waziristan tribal area in northwest Pakistan.
The blast took place outside the heavily fortified WFP offices in a residential area of the city near the home of Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari.
The deputy Executive Director of WFP, Amir Abdulla, sent his condolences to the families of the victims, describing it as “a terrible tragedy for WFP, and for the whole humanitarian community in Pakistan.”
“I wish to express my deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of those dedicated WFP staff members who were killed or injured in this terrible attack,” said WFP Executive Director, Josette Sheeran.
The neighbourhood has already been identified as a high-risk area after Pakistani interior minister Rahman Malik recently confirmed that it is home to almost all of the 200 Americans currently living in Islamabad.
Uh, thanks, buddy.
Last week, militants leaders in South Waziristan unanimously agreed on retaliation against any military operation in the area and added that the country’s main cities would be targeted.
Pakistani security forces had earlier rejected proposals to mount an operation in the South Waziristan region.
However, during Zardari’s recent visit to New York for the annual UN General Assembly meeting, there was renewed pressure from the United States for Pakistan to support the fight against terrorism and an accompanying aid package.
The aid package – called the Kerry Lugar bill and which is worth 1.5 billion dollars annually for the next 5 years – is conditional on Pakistan’s support for the ‘war on terror’.
Soon after Zardari’s departure on 28 September from New York, he tasked the director general of Pakistan’s ISI military intelligence agency, Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha, with coordinating the South Waziristan operation with US security organisations.
As soon as Zardari reached Islamabad, the spokesperson for Pakistan’s armed forces, Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, said the military operation would be launched “in the near future”. Abbas did not specify a date.
As part of an emergency relief programme, WFP has been providing vital food assistance to as many as 2 million Pakistani civilians displaced by conflict in the troubled Swat Valley district in North West Frontier Province….