[A-List] Pakistan: further blowback
soncu at pacbell.net
Sun Mar 17 12:30:27 MST 2002
Grenade attack kills five in Pakistan church
By Farhan Bokhari in Karachi and Gerard Baker in Washington
Published: March 17 2002 17:59 | Last Updated: March 17 2002
President George W. Bush vowed to bring to justice terrorists who
threw grenades into a church in Islamabad on Sunday, killing at
least five people, including two US citizens.
More than 45 worshippers at the Protestant church were injured in
the attack, which shook Pakistan's security establishment and
highlighted the military and diplomatic challenges for the Bush
administration as it pursues a global war on terrorism.
The attack demonstrates the vulnerability of Americans and the
potential scale of the task the Bush administration faces.
In a statement, Mr Bush said he was "outraged" by the attack that
could not "be tolerated by any person of conscience nor justified
by any cause.
"We will work closely with the government of Pakistan to ensure
those responsible for this terrorist attack face justice," he
No one immediately claimed responsibility. But senior Pakistani
officials claimed they suspected the attack was the work of
Islamic hardliners, seeking revenge from the US and the
government of General Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani president,
for the attacks on Afghanistan following last September's
terrorist attacks in the US.
Khalid Ranjha, Pakistan's law minister, said: "It's a highly
deplorable attempt to spoil our relations with foreign countries.
Choosing this place is meant to embarrass the government." He
added: "The attack shows that those who carried it out were
The American dead were identified as the wife of a US diplomat
and her daughter. The other fatalities included an Afghan and a
Three American civilians have now been killed in Pakistan since
the US launched a military campaign against Afghanistan last
October. Earlier this year, terrorists kidnapped and murdered
Daniel Pearl, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.
Mr Bush has promised to wage war on terrorists "with a global
reach" and US military forces are already committed in the
Philippines, Yemen and Georgia as well as Afghanistan.
The police said the injured included 10 Americans, 12 Pakistanis,
five Iranians, three Sri Lankans, one Iraqi, one Ethiopian and
one German. The diverse nationalities of the victims was largely
because the church, which is located close to the US embassy, was
frequently visited by diplomats.
Visitors driving up the road to the church were usually stopped
at a police barricade and documents were occasionally checked.
However, the two attackers who walked in to the church fled after
lobbing at least four grenades.
"There should now be a very serious review of security conditions
in this country," said a western diplomat. "If this church could
be a target, many other places could be as well."
Analysts say Islamic hardliners, who became deeply entrenched
across Pakistan during the high days of the Taliban, continue to
retain some of their influence through pockets of supporters in
parts of the country.
More information about the A-List