Pakistan is facing major challenges, chief among them is a growing insurgency. On a recent visit to Pakistan, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher said the U.S. supports the Pakistani government's tough action to address the militant extremist threat.
The Taliban and al Qaida pose a growing threat to Pakistan as they have stepped up their campaign inside the country, launching ever more deadly strikes in Pakistani cities. These attacks include the September 20th truck bombing that killed more than fifty people at Islamabad's Marriott Hotel. In response, Pakistan has deployed its air force and ground forces supported by tanks and artillery against the Taliban and al Qaida in parts of the Northwest Territories.
In a recent interview, Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani said, "Pakistan will look at all possible avenues of bringing an end to terrorism. This includes engaging reconcilable elements in Pakistan's border regions with Afghanistan. It includes offering social, economic development in what is one of the most remote undeveloped areas of our region. And, it involves military measures against those who do not accept the contemporary way of life, want to impose their views on others by force, and continue to engage in violence and terrorism."
The insurgency in Pakistan, said Assistant Secretary Boucher, is "trying to change the way of life that ordinary Pakistanis aspire to: a more modern life, a more open life, a life as part of the world. And we have to fight against that with all the tools possible." The U.S. is helping Pakistan to train a Frontier Corps, a paramilitary force aimed at taking on the insurgency.
The ultimate goal, said Assistant Secretary of State Boucher, "is to help the Pakistani government in its determination to modernize Pakistan and to integrate the tribal areas into the life of the country."