They'll Be Back: al-Qaeda Targeting Pak Police, FBI in Pakistan
Al-Qaeda is definitely stepping up its battle in Pakistan, as Syed Saleem Shahzad reports. Last week, terrorists struck the offices of the Pakistani police's investigative offices in Lahore, killing at least 30 with a car bomb.
However, according to Asia Times Online's investigations, the real target, an undercover office of the Special Investigation Authority (SIA), was missed as the suicide attacker hit the advertising agency.
The SIA is a joint initiative of US and Pakistani planners set up to eliminate the strong roots of radicalization in Punjab province which could easily be transformed into very strong al-Qaeda connections. The SIA will remain a target in Lahore as well as other parts of Punjab, including Multan.
The undercover counterterror investigative unit is not a secret, though indications are the bomber imprecisely hit his assigned target, primarily striking a marketing company instead.
The SIA's investigative partner, America's FBI, will also remain an actively pursued target in Pakistan as well. Yesterday, the Luna Caprese restaurant in Islamabad was struck as well, a popular gathering spot for Westerners. A Turkish civilian was killed and four American FBI personnel injured, including the FBI's top counterterrorism agent in Pakistan.
Officials said the bomb was thrown over the wall or was planted in the restaurant's garden, which had been crowded with diners. The restaurant has a single private security guard at its entrance, but none along its perimeter.
Turkey's Foreign Ministry identified the dead woman as Sacide Ender Baskaya, who was working for a Turkish aid group, Support to Life. A ministry statement condemned the attack and said Turkey would "maintain its solidarity with brother Pakistan."
A list of victims was posted in the reception of an Islamabad hospital. Five U.S. citizens were listed as undergoing surgery. One Japanese citizen, one Canadian, one Briton and three Pakistanis also were wounded.
The Islamabad attack after the Lahore bombing should leave no doubt that al-Qaeda, the Taliban and aligned terrorists are stepping up their attacks wherever possible, with the Pakistani police and Americans as the primary target.
Al-Qaeda missed their larger prize in Lahore last week. They have pursued FBI agents in Islamabad though they failed to kill them. They'll be back. Wherever possible.