wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08ISLAMABAD3076 2008-09-21 04:50:00 SECRET Embassy Islamabad
Cable title:  

SITREP 03, AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD: ISLAMABAD QUIET,

Tags:   PGOV PREL AMGT CACS ASEC PTER PINR PK 
pdf how-to read a cable


1. (C) As of September 22, 1000 hours (local time), two TDY
staff remain missing. Pakistani media report at least 60
dead and over 200 injured. Media also reports that the
Marriott hotel is structurally compromised and may collapse.
1200 kilos of explosives were used in the attack. Due to
extreme heat of fires throughout the building, rescue workers
had only just begun searching the building for the at least
15 people known missing. A joint investigation team led by
the Federal Investigation Agency has been formed and has
begun collecting evidence. Pakistani media reports stepped
up security at government buildings and other sensitive
facilities in Karachi and Peshawar. Islamabad remains calm
but extra security patrols/checks are reported along the
Peshawar-Islamabad motorway. No groups have come forward to
claim responsibility for the bombing.



2. (U) President Asif Ali Zardari spoke to the nation
September 21 at 0200 (local time) and said of the attack "the
nation will not bow down to the menace of terrorism." In his
2-minute speech, Zardari also said: "Terrorism will not
dampen our resolve against it." He called the attackers
"cowards," who had turned a day of joy into sorrow, alluding
to his address to a joint session of parliament September 20
afternoon. He continued: "These were not acts of (real)
Muslims." He also promised the GOP would compensate the
victims' families.



3. (C) At 0900 post held a an EAC meeting. Results of the
meeting will be reported septel.



4. (S) Ambassador spoke via telephone with Interior Minister
Rehman Malik twice in the morning. Malik reported that the
attack had the same signature as one used against
Inter-Services Intelligence buses a few months ago. It was a
very sophisticated bomb, packed with accelerants and debris.
Malik has personnel in the hotel looking for post's missing
staff. He said they had previous threat reporting suggesting
Baitullah Mehsud, or the sophistication could indicate an Al
Qaeda link.



5. (C) A medevac flight left Chaklala Airbase for Bagram on
September 21 at 0730 carrying one patient and the deceased.
Both individuals are from ODRP. The body will be transferred
to Dover and the patient's onward destination will be
determined after examinations. ODRP Chief Admiral Lefever
said that if the two missing are later found to be deceased,
any remains should be placed in an identified body bag, at
which point military medevac will be made available to return
the remains to Dover for forensic identification. Sixteen
official Americans were treated at the Embassy's Health Unit
and released. One USAID contractor and one RAO individual
remain hospitalized at Shifa Hospital in Islamabad. One DHS
individual will be sent to London on Monday morning,
September 23, for further treatment.



6. (C) The exact number of private Americans at the hotel is
still not known. Post is working with the three-day old guest
list to try to contact all possible Americans. One private
American working with an NGO suffered head injuries in the
attack. She is currently in stable condition at Shifa
International Hospital, and her NGO will assist with medical
evacuation if required. Consular remains in touch with
several other private AmCits who have contacted Post to
report that they left the hotel with no passports or other
belongings. Post plans to open the Consular Section for
passport and other non-emergency services later Sunday
morning.



7. (C) AmConsul Peshawar remains on lockdown with
mission-essential movements only authorized. Sixteen TDY
personnel have been moved out of the Pearl Continental Hotel
and into private residences. The Consulate will hold an EAC
at 1100 hours (local time) and will be open for business on
Monday, September 22, however employees are being encouraged
to work from home and limit movements to and from the
Consulate to the minimum necessary. AmConsuls Lahore and

ISLAMABAD 00003076 002 OF 002


Karachi will also hold EAC meetings at 1100 hours.
PATTERSON