Extremists Vow To Turn Pakistan Into A War Zone Gunmen on a motorcycle assassinated a senior Pakistani army officer as his jeep was driving through the capital Islamabad in the middle of the day. The incident comes as government troops are engaged in fierce fighting with militants in a Taliban sanctuary: the tribal area of South Waziristan along the border with Afghanistan.
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Extremists Vow To Turn Pakistan Into A War Zone

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Extremists Vow To Turn Pakistan Into A War Zone

Extremists Vow To Turn Pakistan Into A War Zone

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W: NPR's Julie McCarthy joins us now from Islamabad. Hello, Julie.

JULIE MCCARTHY: Hi, Renee.

: Tell us more about this attack on this brigadier. It sounds - at first glance it sounds rather bold and also rather easy.

MCCARTHY: And just blocks from where we're speaking to you, a gunman opened fire on what's called the F-8 market. It's a crowded commercial area with sensitive offices, like Islamabad's district court. It's full of diplomats, embassies. The Saudis are here. And it's considered a high security zone. Yet the attacker is said to have fired on a tax office at the market and then fled in broad daylight. And this comes on the heels of the suicide bombing at the Islamic University just 48 hours ago.

: And this all would be - appear to be militants retaliating for this offensive in South Waziristan. But what is the government doing to stop them? As you suggest, security isn't so good. I mean, can the government stop them?

MCCARTHY: There is an increasingly desperate feel about the way the government is handling it. You've got sharpshooters with telescope-mounted guns who have reportedly been deployed on the rooftops of government buildings with orders to kill any terror suspect. But the Pakistanis are saying to me that the government in their eyes is failing. The schools, the bazaars, the mosques are under assault. And one editorial described the nation today as shell-shocked.

: Well, what about that offensive? What is the latest there in South Waziristan?

MCCARTHY: Yeah, but what we're seeing here is, you know, a Taliban militancy that seems to have resilience and strength in spite of this offensive and that it's not just confined to South Waziristan or the Swat Valley. Its tentacles seem to have spread. It's popping up in all the major cities, certainly here in the capital, and it appears to be burrowed deep in this society, and they're proving they can strike at will.

: Julie, thanks very much.

MCCARTHY: Thank you, Renee.

: NPR's Julie McCarthy speaking to us from the capital of Pakistan, Islamabad.

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