More than 90 people were killed after a car bomb ripped through a busy market in Peshawar, Pakistan. The blast came as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton began a visit to the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. The World's Jason Margolis looks at who in Pakistan is responsible for thwarting attacks.
KATY CLARK: The attack against that guesthouse in Kabul is not the only violence we're reporting today. There was also a deadly attack in the Pakistani city of Peshawar. A massive car bomb tore through a congested market killing more than 90 people including many women and children. It was the latest in a string of militant attacks this month in Pakistan and it happened as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton began a three-day visit to the country. The World's Jason Margolis has more.
JASON MARGOLIS: Pakistani officials say the recent wave of bomb attacks is the Taliban's answer to a military offensive to flush militants from their stronghold in South Waziristan. That's a region bordering Afghanistan. There's wide speculation that today's car bomb was timed to coincide with the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to Pakistan. Clinton spoke in Islamabad shortly after the bomb exploded today.
HILLARY CLINTON: These attacks on innocent people are cowardly. They are not courageous. They are cowardly. If the people behind these attacks were so sure of their beliefs let them join the political process.
MARGOLIS: Pakistan's foreign minister, Shah Mahmoud Qureshi, spoke along side Clinton. Qureshi also had a stark message for the perpetrators of the attacks.
SHAH MAHMOUD QURESHI: People who are carrying out such heinous crimes, they want to shake our resolve. I want to address them. We will not buckle. We will fight you. We will fight you because we want stability and peace in Pakistan.
MARGOLIS: A 90-minute drive away from the press conference, eye witnesses in Peshawar describe the scene and criticize the official response.
MAN: [SPEAKING PASHTO]
TRANSLATOR: There was a loud blast suddenly and then a fire broke out. It's been an hour and the authorities still haven't been able to control the fire. There are people still trapped inside the buildings injured and we're afraid that they'll die. There's no security. We've been fooled in the name of security.
MARGOLIS: Pakistan's government structure doesn't make it crystal clear who ultimately is responsible for that security ï¿½ to police, the army, or the civilian government. Here in the United States there is a clear leader during a crisis. We turn to the commander in chief for words of security and reassurance. In Pakistan it's more complicated.
ANDREW WILDER: In Pakistan leadership has always been contested between the civilian rulers and the military rulers.
MARGOLIS: That's Andrew Wilder. He grew up in Pakistan and is now at the Feinstein International Center at Tufts University in Boston. He says there's been a power struggle between civilian and military leadership since Pakistan's first coup in 1958. Wilder says popular support for the military declined in recent years towards the end of General Pervez Musharaf's rule. But Wilder says the military is once again gaining public support.
WILDER: At times of insecurity and when there's a feeling of growing security threat to Pakistan I think many Pakistanis are actually looking to their military leadership to take a lead in terms of tackling the militancy in Pakistan.
MARGOLIS: But preventing future suicide attacks in Pakistan won't be easy explains Marvin Weinbaum, a former State Department analyst for Pakistan.
MARVIN WEINBAUM: However strong or weak an organization, it doesn't take very much to be able to pull off a suicide attack. When it comes to individuals who are prepare to die for a cause it's very difficult to be able to stop this. What you can do is you can minimize the consequences of their action.
MARGOLIS: Weinbaum says that's done through better intelligence ï¿½ knowing in advance that a bomb is coming. In Pakistan intelligence gathering is shared by the military and the civilian government. On that front, Weinbaum doesn't see any rift. He says the military has stepped back from direct involvement in politics and each side has given the other space to operate. The other way thwart future attacks is to crush the enemy. That's what Pakistan's military is trying to do in South Waziristan. For The World I'm Jason Margolis.