Pakistan’s Violence Continues With Cultural Capital Assaults
The attacks on the regional center of the Federal Investigation Agency and two police centers occurred around 9:30 a.m. and shut down parts of Lahore. In total, more than 30 people were killed, including 11 militants and 19 police officers, according to the New York Times.
One of the attacks was on an elite counter-terrorism training school where graduates learn techniques considered to be the toughest in the province. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility, the Washington Post reported.
Lahore is in the Punjab Province, the country’s most economically important and the traditional seat of power.
Also on Thursday, militants attacked a police station and killed eight people in Kohat in the North West Frontier Province. And in Peshawar, a remote-controlled car bomb exploded in a neighborhood home to many government workers. A child died and dozens were wounded.
The attacks continue to raise questions about the ability of Pakistan’s security forces to fight against insurgents. The Pakistani military is planning an offensive against the Taliban in South Waziristan, where the government says many of the attacks are planned. They have been conducting air strikes there since June.
The attacks are more in a continuing string of violence in recent days that has stuck across the country.
“First the (North West) Frontier province was on the front line, now they are playing their games in Punjab,” Interior Minister Rehman Malik told Geo television, as quoted by the Associated Press.
Over the weekend, the Taliban claimed responsibility for a raid on the army headquarters in Rawalpindi.
Taliban spokesman have said there will be more attacks in revenge for the death of their leader Baitullah Mehsud.
“Ever since the head of the Pakistani Taliban was killed in a missile strike in early August, the militants themselves have warned of more attacks, and authorities have been repeating that they also expect… retaliation,” Chris Brummitt of the AP said on the NewsHour.
The U.S. has encouraged Pakistan to increase pressure on insurgents across the border from Afghanistan, where the U.S. in facing increasing attacks and President Obama is considering a boost in troop levels.