Pakistan — Official Emphasizes Importance of Helping Pakistan

WASHINGTON, May 10, 2010 — In the wake of offi­cial con­fir­ma­tion that the Pak­istani Tal­iban were behind last week’s failed ter­ror attack in New York City’s Times Square, a senior defense offi­cial today empha­sized the impor­tance of U.S. sup­port to Pak­istan as it con­fronts the threat with­in its bor­ders.

Attor­ney Gen­er­al Eric Hold­er acknowl­edged yes­ter­day that the Pak­istani Tal­iban were deeply involved in the May 1 bomb­ing attempt. U.S. offi­cials arrest­ed Faisal Shahzad, a nat­u­ral­ized Amer­i­can cit­i­zen, as he attempt­ed to flee the coun­try two days lat­er.

“The evi­dence that we’ve now devel­oped shows that the Pak­istani Tal­iban direct­ed this plot,” Hold­er said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “We know that they helped facil­i­tate it. We know that they helped direct it. And I sus­pect that we are going to come up with evi­dence that shows they helped to finance it. They were inti­mate­ly involved in this plot.” Pen­ta­gon spokesman Bryan Whit­man not­ed the Unit­ed States is help­ing Pak­istan deal with the Tal­iban and oth­er extrem­ists with­in its bor­ders.

“We are pro­vid­ing aid to Pak­istan for them to deal with the exis­ten­tial threat that is there,” Whit­man told Pen­ta­gon reporters today. “It is a threat, not only to the Pak­istan gov­ern­ment, but it also pro­duces exter­nal threats, which is why we are work­ing with them to deal with this.”

Just days before the failed attack, a senior Defense Depart­ment offi­cial empha­sized to Con­gress the impor­tance of long-term fund­ing for Pakistan’s coun­terin­sur­gency oper­a­tions. “This is a part­ner­ship that is absolute­ly vital to U.S. inter­ests,” Michele Flournoy, under­sec­re­tary of defense for pol­i­cy, told the House Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee at an April 29 hear­ing.

Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma called the failed Times Square attack a sober­ing reminder of the need to remain vig­i­lant against ter­ror­ists com­mit­ted to destroy­ing America’s way of life. “Around the world and here at home, there are those who would attack our cit­i­zens and who would slaugh­ter inno­cent men, women and chil­dren in pur­suit of their mur­der­ous agen­da,” Oba­ma said last week as details of the attack began com­ing to light. Ter­ror­ists “will stop at noth­ing to kill and dis­rupt our way of life,” he added. Mean­while, Oba­ma vowed to do what’s need­ed to pro­tect the Unit­ed States from ter­ror­ism.

“As Amer­i­cans and as a nation, we will not be ter­ror­ized,” he said. “We will not cow­er in fear, [and] we will not be intim­i­dat­ed.

“We will be vig­i­lant, we will work togeth­er, and we will pro­tect and defend the coun­try we love to ensure a safe and pros­per­ous future for our peo­ple,” the pres­i­dent con­tin­ued.

That’s what I intend to do as the pres­i­dent, and that is what we will do as a nation.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)