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Asia-pacific

Senior army officer killed in brazen Islamabad attack

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2009-10-22

A high-ranking military officer was shot dead in broad daylight in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad Thursday despite tight security clampdowns as the military conducts an anti-Taliban offensive in South Waziristan.

 
 

Gunmen on a motorbike shot dead a high-ranking Pakistani army officer and his driver in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad Thursday in a brazen daylight attack that came despite security clampdowns in a nation geared up for retaliatory attacks as the military conducts a major offensive in a militant hotbed in the northwest.

Brigadier Moin Haider and his driver were killed in a residential neighbourhood of Islamabad Thursday when gunmen rode up to his vehicle and sprayed it with bullets, according to witness reports. Television footage showed a vehicle riddled with bullets in the upmarket G-11 sector of the capital that has since been cordoned off.

Gunfire was also heard at a court building in Islamabad, but details of the incident were not immediately available. Police officers told the Reuters news service that ambulances were rushing to the site and they were investigating the report.

Thursday’s attack was the second in three days to strike the Pakistani capital following Tuesday’s twin suicide bombing at the International Islamic University, which killed five people.

The nation has been braced for retaliatory strikes as the Pakistani military conducts a massive offensive in the border tribal area of South Waziristan in an attempt to rid the lawless zone of senior Taliban leaders.

Shops, schools and universities have been closed as analysts have warned of the possibility of more urban attacks.

Reporting from Islamabad, FRANCE 24’s Stephen Kloss said public support for the army’s offensive against militants has been high across Pakistan. But, he said, there was growing anger over the government’s failure to provide security to ordinary citizens.

“The public here has been very patient, they backed this military offensive,” said Kloss. “But people here are getting very angry. They are saying the government is not protecting the public from suicide attacks. People here are saying they just want to get on with their daily lives.”

 

Date created : 2009-10-22

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