U.S. Diplomat Safe After Pakistan Attack

A Pakistani walks on the rubble of a girls' school destroyed by militants with explosives the day before in Badabair, near Peshawar, Pakistan, Aug. 25, 2008.
AP Photo/Muhammad Sajjad
Written for CBSNews.com by Farhan Bokhari, reporting from Islamabad.
Pakistan's intelligence services were ordered Tuesday to review security arrangements for diplomats traveling to the northern parts of the country after a U.S. diplomat survived an armed attack in Peshawar, capital of the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP).

The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad declined to name the diplomat but intelligence officials in the capital city identified her as Lynne Tracy, the principal officer of the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar.

"There was a security incident in Peshawar this morning involving a U.S. consulate vehicle and three employees. There were no injuries and minimal damage to the vehicle," U.S. Embassy spokesman Lou Fintor told CBS News. "We are coordinating with Pakistani authorities in investigating the incident. The consulate is open and operating normally."

A senior Pakistani intelligence official in Islamabad said the attack took place when Tracy was driving to the U.S. consulate and her vehicle was fired upon by gunmen driving another vehicle.

The incident prompted an immediate, "comprehensive and fresh review of security in the NWFP," according to a senior Pakistani intelligence official who spoke to CBS News on condition of anonymity.

"While conditions in the NWFP have been dangerous for some time, the province has not been completely out of bounds in selective cases. Maybe that will have to change now," the intelligence official said.

A European diplomat in Islamabad who also spoke to CBS News on condition they not be named said the attack was likely to further intensify worries in Western capitals over security conditions inside Pakistan.

The attack came a day after the Pakistani government officially banned, for the first time, the Taliban, which has launched increasing attacks on Pakistani military and paramilitary troops, as well as U.S. and other NATO troops in Afghanistan.

The ban followed last Thursday's attack on the Pakistani military's main munitions factory, about 19 miles north of Islamabad.

"It is impossible to tell if the attack in Peshawar was in retaliation to the ban. But, obviously it is worth asking if the Taliban swiftly retaliated," said the European diplomat who spoke to CBS News.

Meanwhile, at least 20 people were reportedly wounded in the southwestern Pakistani province of Baluchistan when a bomb blast hit people gathered for a political rally.

Police official Nazir Ahmad told the Associated Press the bomb was attached to a motorcycle near the stage of the Tuesday rally. Ahmad said some of those injured in the blast were in critical condition.

The European diplomat warned that while the Pakistani government considers tighter controls over foreign nationals traveling to the NWFP and other volatile areas, the country will also have to take much tougher action against Islamic militants.

"The way these people are growing as a nuisance for Pakistan, there has to be a firm response," the diplomat told CBS News. "In the short term, of course, there will be lots of bloodshed. But, can Pakistan afford a half-hearted response, especially when this problem is growing so rapidly?"