Pakistani Police A Growing Target For Militants

04/30/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The militant attack on a Pakistani police academy Monday in Lahore, compounded with militants' attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team earlier this month in that same city, has illuminated further the insipidity of Pakistan's police at a rather inopportune moment. From the Christian Science Monitor:

"The security guards weren't able to resist because they had no guns or no ammunition," says eyewitness M. Ilyas, a police constable.

Police have drawn the ire of jihadi groups for leading a crackdown and investigation of their suspected involvement in the attack on Mumbai in November. Analysts are divided over how much enthusiasm the Army has for tackling militant groups -- even in the face of a rise in attacks -- but there's consensus that it's the police who have proven the most aggressive and need the most Western backing moving forward.

"The police are the weakest link. They are both the most vulnerable and the most essential to the state if there is to be an effective crackdown" on jihadi groups, says Samina Ahmed, a Pakistan-based analyst with the International Crisis Group (ICG).

The Pakistani government is blaming the police academy siege -- which lasted eight hours and ended with the the death of 12 gunmen -- on Taliban elements, the New York Times reports.

The attacks come at a time when Pakistan's own stability is considered by the new administration to be the sine qua non of any level of success in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, however, the Pakistani government under President Zardari continues to show signs that it is losing control over its internal security. To complement the $1.5 billion civilian aid that President Obama committed to on Friday for the next five years also came an administration proposal Monday for $2.8 billion in military aid, Fox news reports:

A defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told FOX News the money will be dedicated exclusively to "equipping, training, and building infrastructure directly related to counterinsurgency operations."

Gen. David Petraeus told FOX News in an interview Monday the plan will be called the "Pakistani Counterinsurgency Capability Fund".

Officials were quick to point out that U.S. commanders would have control over how the money is spent, and that none of it would be spent in a way that would give Pakistan a greater capacity to attack another country, such as India.


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