Dealing with Pakistan's insurgency

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MARCO WERMAN: The latest attacks in Pakistan are raising serious concerns about the security situation there, as The World's Matthew Bell reports.

MATTHEW BELL: Pakistan's Army is the most powerful institution in the country, which makes this weekend's braising attack on army headquarters outside the capital Islamabad all the more worrisome. South Asia expert, Christine Fair of Georgetown University says, the cracks of the problem is that Pakistan's military has only declared a partial war on terrorism. That's to say the army has decided to fight some elements of the Pakistani Taliban.

CHRISTINE FAIR: But it has not declared a war on terrorism against a variety of other organizations, that operate collusively with the Pakistan Taliban because those organizations are asset to the state. And I'm specifically talking about the [INDISCERNIBLE] on Taliban, and I'm specifically talking about groups that focus their efforts and energies against India.

MATTHEW BELL: First, take the Afghan Taliban, for example. This is the group allied with Al Qaeda that the US-led invasion of Afghanistan toppled back in 2001. The Afghan Taliban leader, Mullah Omar is now thought to be in Pakistan's Baluchistan province. The American ambassador to Pakistan recently suggested that if the Pakistani military doesn't get rid of Mullah Omar, then the US would do so. That was seen as a threat to begin American drone attacks in Baluchistan. Pakistan's Army chief responded by saying that would not be allowed. Christine Fair says the episode is instructive.

CHRISTINE FAIR: The Afghan Taliban continue to enjoy sanctuary in Pakistan, period, end of story.

MATTHEW BELL: As for the other extremist groups in Pakistan, many of them have been historically focused on India, and they've received support from Pakistan's intelligence service. Fair says Pakistan's military is still reluctant to move against them as well.

CHRISTINE FAIR: And that's the realization that Pakistan has not yet come to. And until it does, it is gonna deal with an increasingly vicious internal security problem.

MATTHEW BELL: Pakistan's foreign minister paints a very different picture. Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi spoke at the Council on Foreign Relations last week, and he said Pakistan does not distinguish between good terrorists and bad ones. Qureshi said Pakistan's military is cracking down on militant groups in the country.

MAKHDOOM SHAH MAHMOOD QUERESHI: Because we want to clear our territory of all kind of mischief. These people have caused us more harm than anybody else.

MATTHEW BELL: A new US aid package is already having political implications. Congress just approved an additional seven and a half billion dollars in military and economic assistance for Pakistan. The money would be delivered over the next five years. but only if certain conditions are met, including a demand to crack down on terrorist groups. Some of those conditions are proving to be controversial in Pakistan however. The head of the Army has reportedly raised objections. And the political opposition is portraying the conditions as an American infringement on Pakistan's sovereignty. The foreign minister appeared to have the diplomatic standoff in mind last week when he said the US and Pakistan should learn to trust each other more. For The World, I'm Matthew Bell.