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Omar Hamid Khan, the Interior Ministry spokesman, says violence has escalated since the Sharif government took office in June, with 68 attacks in 60 days.
In a recent interview he acknowledged the difficulties the new government faces in meeting its stated goals of creating a counter-terrorism authority and competent police force, and finding experts to translate its national security blueprint into action.
Dr. Simbal Khan, a regional security expert with the Islamabad Policy Research Institute in Islamabad, said Pakistan doesn’t want to see Afghanistan return to the 1990s, when civil war destroyed the country and gave rise to the repressive Taliban regime which in turn strengthened Pakistan’s militants. Yet Pakistan’s options are few, and according to Dr. Khan exclude an all-out assault on militant hideouts in Punjab that would turn the full force of militancy against Pakistan.
"We know where they are. We could bomb the whole area, flatten it. That would solve Afghanistan’s problem but what would that leave for us?" she asked. "We might solve the Afghan problem but our problem would be far worse. We would suffer for the next 40 years."
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