A car bomb ripped through the Danish embassy in Islamabad today, killing eight and wounding at least 30. The attack appears intended as revenge for the publication of cartoons critical of Mohammed, the founder of Islam, over the past few years. No organization has yet claimed responsibility, but the obvious suspects would be either al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or both:
A suicide car bombing outside the Danish embassy in the Pakistani capital Islamabad on Monday killed at least eight people and wounded nearly 30 others, state media and officials said.
The blast left a huge crater outside the embassy, damaging the building and a nearby development agency. Dozens of cars were wrecked by the force of the explosion and some were on fire, an AFP reporter said. ….
Pakistan has experienced a lull in suicide attacks since a new government came to power in March and began peace talks with Taliban militants based in Pakistan’s tribal region bordering Afghanistan.
Pakistani Taliban movement spokesman Maulvi Omar said he had “no knowledge” about the blast.
“I have no information, I am not in a position to immediately comment. I cannot say who is responsible for this,” Omar told AFP by telephone fom an unknown location.
An attack on a foreign embassy creates a huge problem for Pakistan’s new appeasement-minded government. They have all but ceded sovereignty in the frontier provinces, but the Pakistani government acts as the guarantor of security for foreign embassies, especially in the national capital. If they cannot keep the city safe for consulates and embassies, nations will begin withdrawing their emissaries, which will disrupt trade and diplomacy. If the government is seen as partnering with these terrorists, they will quickly find themselves isolated.
The Taliban are in the middle of negotiations with Islamabad and make less-likely suspects for this reason. They have been careful over the last few weeks not to direct attacks towards Pakistan in order to encourage the appeasement of the PPP-led parliament and government. This attack only gives Prime Minister Gilani an excuse to go back to a military footing, which the Taliban has all but blocked since the elections reduced Musharraf to little more than a figurehead.
AQ terrorists makes much better suspects in this case. Not only do they despise the Pakistanis, they’re desperate to look relevant again as Iraq slips away from them. The Mohammed cartoons created a huge wave of irrational response, and Osama bin Laden may want to stoke those fires again. However, a single suicide car bomber isn’t really the AQ modus operandi anywhere except Iraq; they usually prefer multiple attacks on trade and transportation.
Regardless of the suspect, expect this to embarrass the appeasers in the new Pakistani government. Will it provide enough of a humiliation that Gilani and his allies will abandon their policy of negotiation with terrorists? Probably not — at least not with the Danish being the victims.