The Pearl Continental Hotel in Peshawar had unwanted visitors this week. Shooting their way in, and driving a truck bomb up to the hotel, three suicide attackers brought down a corner of the hotel, and killed well over a dozen people.
Locals are impressed: but not favorably.
"...'Our business has been ruined. If the situation continues like this I may move,' said Mumtaz Askari, who owns a small book shop in the Storyteller's Bazaar in Peshawar's old city.Before the five-star hotel was attacked, it was home to United Nations employees. Two of them are dead now.
" 'Our lives are so insecure. You leave home in the morning and don't know if you'll return in the evening. Women can't go shopping and when children go to school you pray they'll come back safely,' Askari said.
" 'Eliminate them once and for all, they're enemies of humanity,' he said of the Taliban.
"Kalimullah, an Afghan working as a waiter in a nearby roadside cafe serving roasted goat and flat bread, said very few people were going out to eat.
" 'I came here to work because there was peace but now it's the same as Afghanistan,' he said. 'They're not Muslims. A Muslim wouldn't slaughter people like this. They're worse than the Afghan Taliban.'..." (Reuters)
CNN is reporting on how Pakistanis in the tribal areas are sympathetic toward the Taliban, and that Pakistan's military action against the Taliban is a bad idea.
"... Peshawar is the capital of North West Frontier Province, which has suffered a spate of bombings on civilian targets in the wake of the Pakistani military's ongoing military offensive against Taliban militants. Sajjan Gohel, an international security analyst at the Asia-Pacific Foundation in Britain, said the blast appeared to be a response to the government's offensive.
" 'It has been criticized very heavily in the tribal areas because of the fact that the Pakistani military has been using helicopter gunships against the Taliban, which has resulted in very high civilian casualties,' Gohel said.
"He said people in the region are sympathetic to the Taliban, the Islamic militia that ruled most of Afghanistan before the September 2001 attacks on New York and Washington by its al Qaeda allies...." (CNN)
'Will the Real Pakistan, Please Stand Up'The Pakistani shop owner and waiter don't like the Taliban. At all.
But, CNN and an expert assure us that Pakistanis in the tribal areas support the Taliban.
They could both be telling the truth.
I suppose what a person assumes about this situation depends partly on who is perceived as having a better view of the situation in Pakistan: a shop owner and a waiter who live and work there, or an expert from a foundation in Britain.
This Rather Definitely Was TerrorismUnlike speculation about what happened to Air France flight 447, what happened at the Pearl Continental Hotel is rather obviously an act of terrorism.
As for the Air France flight: It may prove to be a replay of the Lockerbie incident, other causes may be discovered, or it may remain as one of those disasters whose cause is unknown.
- "Air France Flight 447 Investigators Find Terror List Names: Suggestive, But Far From Proof"
(June 10, 2009)
- "Blowing Up Pakistan Mosque: Not the Best Idea for Taliban"
(June 8, 2009)
- "Pakistan's Swat Valley: Civilians, Soldiers, and the Taliban"
(May 31, 2009)
- "Iraq's Soft Surge; Pakistan and the Taliban: Weekend News and History"
(May 10, 2009)
- "The Marines Blew Up the Islamabad Marriott!"
(September 23, 2008)