Help US prevent future Faisal Shahzads? Pakistan demurs.
The US is likely to further pressure on Pakistan to clear militant strongholds after Times Square bomb suspect Faisal Shahzad said he trained in one. But Pakistan has wavered on cracking down before.
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Further, the military offensive against the TTP has left swaths of still-smoldering territory and displaced hundreds of thousands of residents. The military argues that its manpower is now tied up in trying to hold these lands and get them back under civilian control.Skip to next paragraph
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The recent reemergence of the TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud – once believed to be dead – will focus attention on the TTP as Enemy No. 1, sapping support among the military and the public for opening new fronts in North Waziristan.
"We still see some soft corner in the heart of the military establishment for other militant groups. So it's at least likely that the Pakistani military at this time – after putting so much pressure against TTP – won't go after other groups and risk losing the ground they have made against the TTP," says Mr. Basit.
The US may not let Pakistan continue their narrow focus on TTP, however. Much may hinge on what groups – if any – Shahzad interacted with in Pakistan. If the TTP alone were involved, the push for a full-scale North Waziristan offensive would lessen.
Videos purportedly from the TTP initially claimed responsibility for the Times Square attack. A TTP spokesman now tells the Monitor that their group was not responsible.
Basit says the US levers of pressure now include putting conditions on – or even withholding – further financial assistance, or an intensification of drone attacks.
As for Pakistani assistance in the investigation, the extent of the help may hinge, again, on which groups are ultimately fingered.
After reflexively denying any involvement in the Mumbai attacks and accusing India of “vilification,” Pakistan, possibly bowing to international pressure and responding to a dossier sent by Indian authorities, admitted that the lone surviving gunman, Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, was indeed a Pakistani national.
It is widely believed that the Pakistani establishment initially sought to cover up Mr. Kasab’s identity, having whisked away his immediate family in Faridkot following a media investigation.
The group offices of its charitable arm, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, were sealed, and its assets frozen. Its present leader, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed is under house arrest. LeT founder Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and key operative key operative Zarar Shah are currently standing trial for abetting and planning the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks.