The Marriott Hotel Islamabad has turned into ashes and there seems almost nothing left. But the dubious activities of US officials are still going on. And despite what U.S. officials say, the fire at the Marriott was more complex than it looks.
For reasons still to be explained the Marriott’s own internal fire fighting system could not be brought into operation. While the force of the initial blast blew open windows and doors, which helped spread the fire later.
However according to our correspondent in Islamabad, the fire at the Marriott started in room 440 on the fourth floor, a room occupied by a US official named Mathew.
This occurred after the suicide bomber blew himself and the second the truck bomb exploded. At this point everybody rushed out of the Marriott.
Although Mathew may have wanted to join them, he first piled all his confidential documents and data along with his laptop and set them on fire before fleeing the room. Soon the fire spread, burning furniture, doors and then through the carpet and fittings to other rooms and the rest of the hotel; the flames fed with a steady supply of oxygen via the smashed windows and doors.
According to some reports, CIA officials and US marines occupied room 440, rooms adjacent to it and much of the 5th floor. A total of seven rooms were reportedly allocated exclusively to CIA agents, of whom there were a total of nine at the time of explosion. The agents kept changing but the rooms stayed booked for the CIA. The exact death toll of the US officials may be much higher than officially acknowledged.
Despite the fact that a total of 33 fire trucks fought the blaze, the Marriott could not be saved and was an inferno within thirty minutes of the first blast.
Sources say that US officials subsequently removed burnt debris from the scene, while the local media’s access to those floors and rooms in the Marriott used by U.S. officials and the CIA was restricted.
Moreover on 22nd September 2008, British Airways suspended its flights to Pakistan and at the time of writing those flights remain suspended.
It is also known that on 19 September two U.S. soldiers arrived at the Marriot with mysterious luggage, which was not passed through the scanners at the entrance. One soldier reportedly took room 444 on 4th floor while the other stayed in room 326 on the 3rd. Both men checked out before dawn 5:30 AM the following day.
Later the same day the hotel became a blazing inferno.
Fire fighters say that temperatures at the blaze were extraordinarily high.
According to an investigative report investigators have also found a tube containing an unknown chemical, which has been sent for laboratory analysis.
One of the two military men that the United States has officially acknowledged dead in the incident was Major Rodolfo Rodriquez, assigned to Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany, he belonged to 66th Construction and Training Squadron.
U.S. military authorities have still not announced what he was doing in Pakistan at the time.
The whole episode seems to portend a more serious situation in Pakistan.
Is the United States preparing to make a bigger attack on Pakistani territories as the war has reached the north western city of Kohat, close to the Afghan border and just 100 miles away from the capital Islamabad?
Only time will tell but as Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari assumes office dark clouds are gathering on the horizon.