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Pakistan girds for Bush arrival in wake of bombing

Written by: Staff

ISLAMABAD, Mar 3 (Reuters) Pakistan braced for U.S. President George Bush's arrival today, as an Islamist organised strike took hold and security on heightened alert after a suicide car bomber killed a U.S. official and two others.

Bush is due to arrive in Islamabad some time today evening, though the Financial Times newspaper reported he may make an unscheduled visit to the southern city of Karachi following yesterday'sattack outside the U.S. consulate there.

The official schedule was due to begin tomorrow, when Bush would meet President Pervez Musharraf to discuss progress in the war on terrorism.

U.S. agents, according to Pakistani police officials, have joined an investigation into yesterday's suicide car bomb attack outside the U.S. consulate in the southern city of Karachi, where David Foy, a staffer at the mission, and his driver were killed along with a paramilitary trooper and the suspected bomber.

White House National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley said the attack was ''a reminder that we're at war, and that Pakistan is both an ally in the war on terror and in some sense a battleground in the war on terror''.

President Musharraf has survived several assassination attempts by al Qaeda-linked militants, and Bush was intent on showing solidarity with the Pakistani leader, Hadley said.

Bush has already said, though, that he will ask Musharraf to do more to shut down militant camps on Pakistani soil and stop cross-border infiltration -- something the Afghan and Indian leaders he met earlier on his South Asia tour have complained of.


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