This editorial appeared in The Miami Herald.
Last week, while President Barack Obama and world leaders prepared to meet in London, an event halfway around the world sent an ominous reminder that terrorism remains as much a threat to peace and stability as economic dislocation. Terrorists in Pakistan went on a rampage at a police academy in Punjab, the most populous province, killing at least eight recruits and wounding more than 100 victims.
The siege was over within hours and the attackers blew themselves up with explosives, but it drove home the point that Pakistan's fractured government is increasingly impotent in the face of a growing insurgency. This is bad news not only for the volatile region that stretches westward from South Asia, but for the world at large.
Pakistan is a nuclear–armed country with a large population and a strategic location. Worst of all, Pakistan's tribal areas are home to al–Qaeda's leadership, the Taliban and a host of terrorist groups intent on wreaking havoc against those they have identified as enemies of militant Islam – principally, the United States and Europe.
In short, Pakistan and its 172 million people represent a vital national–security interest that President Barack Obama and his administration can ill afford to ignore. It may have been pure coincidence, but in the days following the attack in Punjab, U.S. military leaders unveiled a new effort to bolster the Pakistani government's fight against insurgents. They want to spend $3 billion in the next five years to train and equip Pakistan's military, complementing a plan pending in the Senate that calls for $7.5 billion over the same period to provide civilian aid.
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