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

    Republicans Struggle With Reality of Trump Nomination

    Despite calls for unity by presumptive presidential nominee, analysts see inevitable fragmentation of party ahead of November election and beyond

    Spanish Warrants Point to Russian Govt. Links to Organized Crime

    Links to several Russians, some of them reputedly close Putin associates, backed by ‘very strong evidence,’ Spanish judge says

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    Iraq needs stable, central government to push back against Islamic State, US says, but others warn that Baghdad may not have unified front any time soon

    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.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora