American aid worker killed in Pakistan
Militants' increasingly brazen attacks highlight Pakistan's inability to prevent violence.
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The incident occurred near the border with Afghanistan on a major supply route, reports The Christian Science Monitor, "underscoring for NATO forces the vulnerability of their only practical supply route into landlocked Afghanistan."Skip to next paragraph
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The US military uses the route to ship goods and material from Karachi, Pakistan's major port city, into Afghanistan, reports the Associated Press, adding that:
Attacks on convoys carrying food, fuel and other supplies are common on the road. But Monday's raid was especially large and well-organized....
The assault highlighted the vulnerability of a vital supply route for the 65,000 U.S. and NATO forces battling a resurgent Taliban in landlocked Afghanistan.
Dawn issued a scathing editorial condemning not only the action by the militants but also what it characterized as the Pakistani military's inept response.
Monday's hijacking by the Taliban of vehicles carrying Nato supplies is disturbing both for its audacity and possible implications. For one thing, the ambush took place not in some remote corner of the tribal belt but on the Peshawar-Torkham highway in an area where there is no shortage of security checkpoints. Equally if not more worrying are reports that paramilitary personnel at the nearby Jamrud Fort just watched the incident as it unfolded instead of taking on the militants. And when helicopter gunships finally launched an attack well after the event, more civilians than militants were hurt or killed, including a 12-year-old schoolboy. The militants then hoisted Taliban flags and banners on the military vehicles they had captured and conducted a victory parade on wheels in the Jamrud area of Khyber Agency. They even posed for photographs, showing off their booty.
Monday's incident was only the latest outbreak in string of attacks that have escalated since September, when the Pakistani military launched a military operation against the Taliban enclave of Bajaur, according to the New York Times.
The army sent in 2,400 troops in early September to take on a Taliban force that has drawn militants from across the tribal region, as well as a flow of fighters from Afghanistan....
After three months of sometimes fierce fighting, the Pakistani Army controls a small slice of Bajaur. But what was initially portrayed as a paramilitary action to restore order in the area has become the most sustained military campaign by the Pakistani Army against the Taliban and its backers in Al Qaeda since Pakistan allied itself with the United States in 2001.