Eight Pakistani commandos and 50 student militants are dead after Pakistani security forces stormed an Islamabad mosque compound Tuesday morning, minutes after negotiations fell through between a government delegation and radical Islamic students inside, military sources said.
Gunfire erupted moments after an announcement from the government’s chief negotiator, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, that talks to end the standoff had failed. As dawn broke over the Pakistani capital, heavy black smoke rose from the site of the mosque and the death toll began to rise.
Dozens of ambulances were parked near the site, waiting for the area to be safe enough to enter.
“After 11 hours of negotiations, we are deeply disappointed that the talks did not succeed,” Hussain said, adding that Abdul Rashid Ghazi — the cleric leading the stand-off inside — said “no” to every offer from the government.
I’m not. I think we know 50 lunatics who won’t be leading terrorist attacks against the United States ever again.
In a larger sense, this is an encouraging development. Pakistan, like Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, has finally realized that allowing swarms of gun-toting Islamofascist maniacs to run around ranting and raving about how the Taliban should run the world is not necessarily good for internal security. Pakistan had more reason to tolerate it than Saudi Arabia does, maybe, since terrorist madmen were useful for their proxy war against India over Jammu-Kashmir. But short-term tactical gain is a pretty useless excuse when your government officials are being lined up against a wall and sharia law is getting imposed in every street in the country. It’s good to see that Pakistan has wised up. Once they excise this cancer from the body politic, and pound Waziristan into rubble, the rest of the world will be all the safer for it.
America should stand behind them in this endeavour. I know President Brownback will, but hopefully the situation will have resolved itself before he’s even inaugurated. This is one of those problems that has a way of being dealt with quickly. Pakistan has worked with these crazies for 25 years. It knows everything there is to know about them, how they think, where they’re financed, where they operate, how they operate, where they live. It should be able to crush them with due celerity. That’s my hope, anyway.