U.S. Condemns Attacks in Pakistan, Approves Aid
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 15, 2009 The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad strongly condemned today's terrorist attacks in Pakistan, vowing continued U.S. support to help Pakistan combat violence.
The embassy issued the condemnation of the attacks as President Barack Obama signed a law that provides $7.5 billion in nonmilitary aid to Pakistan over the next five years. The funds are part of a comprehensive plan that recognizes the importance of confronting the root causes of extremism as well as extremists themselves.
The new law will provide $1.5 billion each year from 2010 to 2014 for schools, hospitals, roads, agricultural aid, roadwork and other development projects.
"This act formalizes that partnership, based on a shared commitment to improving the living conditions of the people of Pakistan through sustainable economic development, strengthening democracy and the rule of law, and combating the extremism that threatens Pakistan and the United States," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said today.
Militants attacked three security agent buildings today, including the Federal Investigation Agency headquarters and two police training centers in Lahore. In addition, a suicide car bomber struck in the northwestern city of Kohat, and a bombing in Quetta in the southwest of the country left more dead.
The latest attacks follow a rash of violence in Pakistan by an increasingly emboldened insurgency, including an attack over the weekend on Pakistan's army headquarters.
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called Pakistan Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani following that attack to express personal condolences for those killed, while emphasizing continued U.S. support.
Mullen has made numerous trips to Pakistan during the past 18 months, and talks regularly with his Pakistani counterparts about their stepped-up counteroffensive against extremists.
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said today the United States is encouraged by the way the Pakistani government is "taking on the threat that exists in their country.”
"The Pakistani government looks like they are committed to taking the necessary steps to deal with this threat," he said.
Whitman called the attacks particularly troublesome because, he said, they take their biggest toll on innocent civilians.
U.S. embassy officials in Pakistan expressed outrage today over the latest string of attacks.
"The horrific injuries and loss of life witnessed in Lahore, Peshawar and Kohat today, along with those lost in the attack on the Pakistan Army General Headquarters, are another stark reminder of the amoral nature of those who commit such acts," a statement released today declared. "These attacks will not deter the people of Pakistan from continuing in their commitment to a free and democratic society.
"The United States will continue to support the people and government of Pakistan in combating all forms of violence," the statement continued. "We mourn the senseless loss of life and extend our condolences to the victims' families, friends and community."