Two suicide bombers killed at least 25 people in Pakistan Tuesday. Margaret Warner reports from Islamabad on the suspected extremist element in the country in the midst of its political uncertainty.
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Pakistanis woke up this morning to news of the latest bomb attacks targeting the country’s security personnel. This time, two nearly simultaneous explosions in Rawalpindi, one of them utterly demolishing the ministry of defense bus and the passengers inside, the other an attack on a market nearby.
Rawalpindi, sister city of the capital, Islamabad, is the very heart of the Pakistani military establishment. An old British garrison town, it now serves as the headquarters of Pakistan’s armed forces. Shaken local residents were alarmed the bombers have been able to hit such a supposedly secure site.
KHALED HUSSAIN, Victim’s Husband (through translator):
We are too worried, too worried that this does not feel like our Pakistan. It seems that somebody has cast an evil eye on the country.
SHAKEEL AHMED, Store Owner (through translator):
Everybody is afraid. Nobody is safe. Here, you don’t know what will happen to you in two minutes’ time.
Today’s attack is not the first time Islamic militants have brought their firepower to the doorstep of the Pakistan government. In July, the Red Mosque in the center of Islamabad was the scene of a violent gun battle between the army and Islamic extremists and students holed up inside. The students had been terrorizing the neighborhood with kidnappings of suspected brothel workers.
At the time, President Musharraf vowed to come to grips with Islamic militants who have brought terror to the streets of the country’s leading cities.
PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, President of Pakistan (through translator):
Extremism and terrorism have not yet ended in Pakistan. This should be clear to us. But it is our resolve that extremism and terrorism, wherever it is in this country, we have to eliminate it.