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Terrorism & Security

Militants attack Pakistani Army as part of new demoralization campaign

About 150 militants attacked the Pakistani Army in South Waziristan, killing eight soldiers. Militants appear to be using large-scale assaults to undermine an Army already under heavy US pressure.

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Pakistan's Army and intelligence agency have been under intense scrutiny since the US raided Osama bin Laden's compound in the country in May. Since Mr. bin Laden's killing, the US has expressed increasing concern about Pakistan's commitment to fighting militancy. On Wednesday, CIA Director Leon Panetta urged Pakistan to do more, AFP reports.

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"It is vital that Pakistan live up to its end of the bargain, cooperating more fully in counterterrorism matters and ceasing to provide sanctuary to Afghan Taliban and other insurgent groups," Mr. Panetta said in a statement to US legislators.

Pakistan is frustrated by what it sees as a lack of international acknowledgement of the toll that counterterrorism efforts have taken. AFP reports that more than 4,400 people have been killed in the country since it began the anti-Islamist offensive in 2007.

The US-Pakistan partnership against terrorism is unpopular with the Pakistani public, which widely believes that the US has used militancy as an excuse to violate the country's sovereignty. An an op-ed in Dawn, a leading Pakistani newspaper, Samar Zuberi writes that Pakistanis feel like their needs are being ignored while the country focuses on what the international community is saying. Money has been funneled into defense spending, while public services get little attention.

Rational discourse between Pakistan and its allies on the actual situation of this war is lacking, and amongst this political turmoil the Pakistani people seem to have been forgotten. Pakistan is wedged between two conflicting narratives and the country has been unable to provide a clear position on its actions internally or to its allies. …

Community leaders commonly believed that the `war on terror` is an international conspiracy. This, in essence, represents the opinion of people that live in some of the worst conflict-affected areas. This view has been voiced again after Bin Laden`s assassination and the attack on the PNS Mehran base.

All the while, Pakistan`s allies have been insinuating that the country is supporting the very enemies it has promised to defeat. The people of Pakistan are confused and angry, and the government and the establishment have not yet been able to provide the nation with the answers it deserves. Domestically, there is talk of holding leaders accountable, but the chances of this happening appear slim considering Pakistan's track record.

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