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Help, the police

March 30th, 2009 - 12:02 am

Today was a bad day to be a Pakistani cop. AFP reports a military-type strike against a police academy.

LAHORE, Pakistan (AFP) — At least 20 people were killed Monday after gunmen stormed a Pakistan police training school near the eastern city of Lahore, police officials told AFP. “The number of killed is at least 20,” police sub inspector Amjad Ahmad told AFP outside the police training ground in Manawan.

Other police officials said the number of casualties may be higher given the heavy crossfire between the attackers holed up at the training centre and paramilitary troops who fanned around the perimeter of the ground. …

Television footage showed bodies of policemen lying face down on the parade ground as heavy gunfire rattled out of the training ground at Manawan outside Pakistan’s cultural capital Lahore.

Bill Roggio describes more attacks on Pakistani police officers — this time in the tribal areas.

The Taliban captured 12 policemen after attacking a police outpost in the Khyber tribal agency in Pakistan’s northwest. The atack capped a weekend of violence in the region surrounding Peshawar, the provincial capital of the Northwest Frontier Province. … “Militants came to the Shin Qamar checkpost before dawn and disarmed our policemen and then bundled them into vehicles,” Gul said. “We’ve launched a search but there’s been no progress.” …

The Taliban are seeking to strangle NATO’s main supply route into Afghanistan as well as conquer the Peshawar region. NATO’s most vital resupply route for its forces in Afghanistan stretches from the Pakistani port city of Karachi to Peshawar, then through the Khyber Pass to Kabul. More than 70 percent of NATO supplies and 40 percent of its fuel moves through Peshawar.

An earlier post noted that one of the necessary consequences of using the Pakistanis to press down hard against the Taliban is that the Islamabad will come under direct pressure from them. “The Jihadi elements will now concentrate on pressuring Islamabad into withdrawing support for the campaign against it. Destabilization efforts against the Pakistani government must now be expected.” The attacks on Pakistani police are not necessarily part of a destabilization, but are at least aimed at intimidating and defanging any security forces which might dare oppose the militants. These are standard antigovernment tactics.

As the effort against the Taliban shifts to both sides of the border, and with President Obama disallowing a direct American role in Pakistan, the Pakistani forces will come under increasing attack. These attacks on cops are probably only a foretaste of what is to come.

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