Pakistan

    The U.S. is putting more pressure on Pakistan to fight insurgents; it is willing to provide additional aid if necessary, according to two Obama administration officials. The U.S. also revealed the possible connection of the recent failed car bombing in New York to the Pakistani Taliban and Kashmiri Islamist group. The U.S. considers the country’s battle against militants as crucial to its fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

    Author Ahmed Rashid warns that the Taliban forces are back in the seven tribal agencies that make up the federal administered tribal areas, and in Swat. The issue has again caught the attention of the international community following the attempted car bomb attack in New York. According to Rashid, there is a need to design a coherent counter-insurgency strategy or doctrine to prevent the current security situation from worsening.

    Despite being a conflict-affected area, USAID has taken the initiative to promote the district of Swat as a major tourist attraction. As such, USAID has partnered with Sarhad Tourism Corporation, Gandhara Art & Culture Association, and Aik Hunar Aik Nagar to participate in the Dawn News International “Travel & Tourism Show” on May 10 to raise public awareness of the valley. Swat valley is famous for its handicrafts and has been an ideal destination for adventure seekers.

    The U.S. is strengthening its military relationship with Pakistan as the U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue’s bilateral security assistance working group met in Rawalpindi on May 5. The meeting addressed the status of military facilities delivered in Pakistan to upgrade its counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operational capacity.

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      Chiden Balmes

      Chiden, a correspondent based in Seoul, focuses on computer-assisted reporting to provide international development professionals with practical business and career information. He also contributes to the Development Newswire and the Global Development Briefing, two of the world's highest-circulation development publications.