Pakistan in serious trouble

An attack on the ‘Pakistani Pentagon’, a highly fortified military complex. Of course the terrorists will eventually be killed and/or captured, but that’s not the point:

Four militants were holding the hostages in a building responsible for the security of the headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, the spokesman, Gen. Athar Abbas said.

The attack was the third by Taliban militants in Pakistan last week, and is a singular embarrassment for the Pakistani Army, exposing its vulnerability to the powerful Taliban insurgency that is closely associated with Al Qaeda. It came as the military was planning a major offensive against the Pakistani Taliban in South Waziristan, and seemed to be a bold gesture by the militants showing that they could attack the army before the army attacked them.

American military officials, some of whom were glued to Pakistani television as the events unfolded, said they were astonished that the militants could penetrate the high-security installation to the extent that they did. Even if the military brings the situation under control, said one official, speaking on condition of anonymity, the siege represents “a major security lapse.”

The daring attack on the headquarters, the most sensitive area in Pakistan which serves as the Pakistani equivalent of the Pentagon, came after the new leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud, warned that the army had become the militants’ main target.

via NYTimes

Hat tip: AfPakChannel (Twitter)

Americans must be getting very nervous about those nuclear weapons stored in equally secure facilities right about now…

This is a major blow for Pakistan. The idea that Pakistan’s two major allies in the region (China and the US) will still support its existence if it cannot weather attacks from Islamic extremists is naive. And vacillations from these two allies will, of course, only lead to more instability. Amazing how one event can turn perceptions so completely as to actually affect outcomes. I pick that this event will, over the course of time, end up being seen as such an event.

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