Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Travel: Hillary Clinton defiant in Pakistan, after deadly car bombing

Today is day one of Secretary Clinton's time in Pakistan. During the plane ride to Islamabad, Hillary Clinton gave remarks to the press and took a ton of questions. She outlined her time in Pakistan for the press:
While I am in Pakistan, I will be having a number of official meetings with not only the president, the prime minister, and the foreign minister, but other ministers in the government, members of parliament of a number of parties, as well as meeting with the opposition, the Sharifs. I will also be doing a lot of public diplomacy and engagement and doing events with students, with women, with Pashtun elders, going to pay respect to some of the cultural places of significance in Pakistan...

We believe we have a lot in common. We have areas of disagreement, obviously. We’re trying to narrow those and expand common ground that we both can take over together.

So it’s going to be a very intensive trip. We’ll be hitting the ground and immediately going into meetings. I’ll be going to Lahore the next day, back to Islamabad, so we’re going to have a very, very busy schedule.

Read her full remarks en route here!

And if you haven't already seen on the news, just hours after Secretary Clinton arrived in Islamabad, a huge car bomb ripped through a crowded market in Pakistan killing 92 people. The bombing was the worst of all the militant suicide bombings, assassinations, and attacks that have occurred in Pakistan this year.

The explosion brought down buildings in the northwestern city of Peshawar just hours after US Secretary Hillary Clinton arrived in Pakistan to bolster the two countries' troubled alliance against Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants.

According to news reports, doctors at the Lady Reading Hospital said many of the casualties were women and children, as the attack occurred in the city's main bazaar.

A Pakistani lawmaker later told journalists that the Peshawar attack was deliberately timed to coincide with Clinton's visit. "Clearly, this was organized for the day of her arrival," said the lawmaker, who requested anonymity.

After condemning the violent attacks in a joint news conference with Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, the Secretary released an official statement on the car bomb in Peshawar:

The United States extends its deepest sympathy to the victims of today’s brutal attack in Peshawar, and to the families and friends of those killed and injured. There is no justification for killing innocent people.

This attack shows the lengths extremist elements are willing to go to force their agenda onto a people who only wish to go about their daily lives in peace.

We commend Pakistan for its courageous fight against extremism and the commitment of the Pakistani military to protect the security and well-being of the Pakistani people. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the Pakistani people in their aspirations for peace and security. We are committed to giving Pakistan the help it needs in order to defeat extremist violence.

Below is some footage after the bombing (warning, it is a bit graphic) as well as some raw footage of Hillary on the tarmac in Islamabad:

CBS Report on Hillary's first visit as SOS to Pakistan and the bombing that killed over 80 citizens:

Watch Brian Williams report on the bombings below:

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

I hope that the bombing doesn't make the diplomacy talks in Pakistan more focused on terrorism then they need to be. Hillary said she wanted to move the relationship away from focusing on terrorism, but I just don't know how that can happen with everything that has happened.

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