News / Asia

Analysts: Taliban to Attack More 'Soft Targets' in Pakistan

Sean Maroney

Taliban militants have claimed responsibility for a coordinated assault on the U.S. Consulate in northwestern Pakistan.  Our correspondent looks at the militants' strategy.

The Tehrik-i-Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack against the heavily guarded U.S. mission in Peshawar.

The so-called Pakistani Taliban largely has limited its attacks in recent months to military outposts and police checkpoints.  But Marvin Weinbaum with the Middle East Institute here in Washington says that he expects the militants to increase their attacks on civilian targets, especially foreigners within Pakistan.

"They will look for 'soft targets.'  Naturally, they want to give the impression that they are in control, that they have not at all been defeated in these recent campaigns that have been mounted [and] that the [suspected U.S.] drone attacks have not put them out of business," said Marvin Weinbaum.

Since the beginning of the year, suspected U.S. missile strikes from unmanned aircraft have increased in frequency in northwestern Pakistan.

These strikes have killed several militant leaders, including the previous head of the Pakistani Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud, last year.  In January of this year, there were reports that another missile strike killed Baitullah's replacement, Hakimullah Mehsud.

At the same time, the Pakistani military has increased pressure on the Taliban's strongholds in the country's semi-autonomous tribal regions that border Afghanistan.

Security analyst Caroline Wadhams with the Washington-based Center for American Progress says the attack on the U.S. Consulate is evidence that the Pakistani Taliban has regrouped.

"I don't think they are going away at this point," said Caroline Wadhams. "I do think though that they are under much greater pressure than they ever have been before."

She says the ferocity of the attack - which included car bombs, grenades and automatic weapons - had a level of sophistication that has not been seen in attacks against foreign targets in Pakistan in recent months.  She agrees with analyst Marvin Weinbaum that the militants probably will now attack more of a mix of domestic military and foreign civilian targets.

"Part of the reason that they are attacking aggressively is because they are feeling under siege; they are feeling threatened by Americans on the Afghan side," she said. "And they are definitely feeling under siege by the Pakistani military."

Lisa Curtis studies U.S.-Pakistan relations at the Washington-based Heritage Foundation.  She says more attacks against U.S. targets in Pakistan might not have the effect the Taliban wants.

"I think that what we'll see is that it draws the U.S. and Pakistan even closer, and we will see that this partnership has strengthened between the two countries," said Lisa Curtis.

She points to the fact that U.S. officials have praised Pakistan in recent months for its fight against Taliban militants.  There also has been a number of reported arrests and deaths of top Afghan Taliban leaders, which analysts cite as evidence of increased coordination between American and Pakistani authorities.

But Marvin Weinbaum with the Middle East Institute says the United States will need to change its strategy in Pakistan, especially in the volatile city of Peshawar.

"Our operations in the city are going to have to be less visible," he said. "They are going to have to perhaps be more decentralized."

Weinbaum says American installations in Pakistan will be the most accessible targets for militants as they seek revenge for suspected U.S. drone strikes.   

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid