Editorial : Intelligence failure - Thursday 28th April 2011

THOUGH Karachi is, unfortunately, no stranger to violence, the bombing of two navy buses in the city on Tuesday perhaps marks the resumption of organised militant terror activities in the metropolis. There was a brief lull in such attacks; however, this proved to be illusory. Several people were killed while dozens were injured in the two separate attacks, which occurred within minutes of each other. A third bomb, which failed to detonate, was defused before it could aggravate the damage. The Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attacks. This is not surprising as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan regards everyone who wants to eliminate Islamic militancy from the country as a legitimate target. The attackers had done their homework as the veh- icles were targeted despite bearing commercial registration plates.
If the TTP was indeed responsible for Tuesday`s bombings, it points to a huge lapse on the part of the state`s intelligence-gathering apparatus. It appears that either sleeper cells have been activated in Karachi or a fresh batch of would-be bombers has arrived from the tribal areas. Local affiliates of militant groups cannot be ruled out. Police say that a suspect arrested in connection with the recent rummy club bombing also had links to Waziristan; many people are doubtful of this claim, but if it is true then it is added reason for concern. Whether it is sleeper cells or new recruits, the failure of the security apparatus to keep an eye on militant activity in the city and keep track of militants` movements across the country reflects poorly on the state`s intelligence-gathering capabilities. It is near impossible to stop a bomber when he is in the process of carrying out his `mission`; better intelligence to pre-empt such activities is the only antidote. Many states have developed and fine-tuned their intelligence-gathering capabilities. Pakistan must do the same if it is to safeguard its cities and towns.
Militants have in the past boasted that over 1,000 suicide bombers have been trained at camps in North Waziristan. A suspected would-be bomber, arrested after the Sakhi Sarwar shrine blast in Dera Ghazi Khan, also claimed hundreds of people were being trained as suicide bombers in Waziristan. If these claims are even partially true, the havoc these brainwashed souls could unleash on Pakistan is unimaginable. The country has already suffered irreparable damage at the hands of militants. Hence, it is imperative that militants are neutralised before they infiltrate the cities, and better intelligence must be the state`s key weapon in this regard.

Source : http://www.dawn.com/2011/04/28/intelligence-failure-2.html

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