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Pak new epicentre of terrorism: US diplomat
June 05, 2003 16:11 IST
A senior US diplomat serving in its embassy in Islamabad has described Pakistan as the new 'epicentre of terrorism' from where many anti-American militant groups operated.
"This is the only country I know in the world that has so many groups that are against the US or Western ideals," the US embassy's Regional Security Officer Michael Evanoff was quoted as saying in the Christian Science Monitor.
"Last year alone, these groups pulled off seven strikes against the US community in Pakistan, including a March church bombing in Islamabad that killed five - among them an American woman from the embassy and her daughter - and a June truck bomb attack on the Karachi consulate that killed 14 Pakistanis," he said.
The Monitor, in its report on the security around the US embassy in Islamabad, said the compound has been turned into a virtual fortress.
"The sprawling compound is surrounded by thick brick ramparts, topped with razor wire and reinforced by steel pillars to keep a vehicle from smashing through," it said.
The staff members of the US embassy have been trained to check their cars for bombs and their residences for suspicious behaviour.
In 2001, two diplomats found small explosive devices attached to their cars using magnets.
US Ambassador to Pakistan Nancy Powell travels through the town in an armoured car, with two diplomatic security agents always at her side.
When she visits consulates in Peshawar, Lahore and Karachi, she is trailed by pick-up trucks packed with elite, US-trained Pakistani forces, the Monitor said.
US Embassy in Pakistan: fortress against terror threats