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Bombing that kills scores sends a mixed message

A suicide bombing at a mosque in the town of Jamrod in Pakistan's tribal areas killed as many as 70 people, according to local media, although Reuters reported 37. The suicide bomber attacked the mosque during the weekly Friday prayers when its two floors were packed. It was the deadliest suicide bombing in Pakistan in months.

An inexplicable act of terrorism on the surface, it's unclear what the message was and the intended audience. No group has claimed responsibility yet. Usually such attacks on mosques are part of sectarian violence between the Shiites and Sunnis. But Jamrod is not a place with a history of sectarian violence.

The terrorist carried out this attack right at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, hours before President Obama announced in a speech a new policy in the war in Afghanistan or "Af-Pak" as the war region is being termed in Washington.

A bomb that can kill 70 people is indication of the presence of people willing to commit suicide and of large amounts of explosives in the region — a message perhaps for President Obama who is about to order thousands more American troops in to the region.

Jamrod is also a a town that most NATO supplies pass through on their way to Afghanistan. A bridge was blown up in the town last month which closed the NATO supply line for over a day. The supply route remains vulnerable to attacks and with thousands more troops coming through this supply line will become all the more important.

The Tribal Areas of Pakistan are a war zone and as the war intensifies with bombings like today's, some in Pakistan are insisting that Pakistan needs to withdraw altogether from "America's war on terror."

So while President Obama stressed the need for deeper involvement with Pakistan in the war in Afghanistan, Qazi Hussain Ahamd, the leader of the Jamat-e-Islami political party in Pakistan came on television taking away this lesson from the bombing in Jamrod:

"It's time that we wash our hands of this war of America's, and withdraw our troops from the tribal areas."

http://www.globalpost.com/notebook/pakistan/090327/mixed-message