After Suicide Bombing, Can Pakistan Launch a Credible Offensive Against Terrorism?

The government is under pressure to fight extremists—and the impression it's fighting America's war.

Wreckage of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad two days after a suicide truck bombing destroyed the hotel.

Wreckage of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad two days after a suicide truck bombing destroyed the hotel.

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Government officials hope that the suicide attack could prompt many Pakistanis to change their minds about ongoing military operations in the restive tribal belt where fierce clashes continue between Taliban militants and the security forces. Many have dismissed the effort as America's war, rather than one Pakistan needs to fight for itself.

However, there are many who still believe that Pakistan is fighting a war for Washington. "Unfortunately, the government has failed to convince a majority of Pakistanis that it's their own war," says Masood, adding that the Bush administration has exacerbated the problem with its controversial missile strikes and ground operations inside Pakistan in recent months. He adds that the militants have used the U.S. attacks to exploit the retaliatory sentiments of tribesmen.

Irfan Siddiqui, a senior Pakistani columnist, also sees a deep sense of revenge behind the suicide bombings.

"We have to understand the psychology of the people who are being killed in tribal areas, and in retaliation, their heirs attack us," he says. "When they see that Pakistanis and Americans join hands, and bomb their villages...they simply think they are Islamabadians or Karachiites who, along with America, are killing us. They just believe in revenge, a blind revenge."