Pakistani Army senior officer gunned down in Islamabad
The attack in Islamabad, Pakistan, appears to be the first targeting a high-ranking official. No group has claimed responsibility yet, but the Taliban has said it was behind other recent attacks.
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A Pakistani brigadier was killed Thursday morning by motorbike-riding assailants who sprayed his vehicle with bullets amid heavy Islamabad traffic. It appeared to be the first such targeted attack on a high-ranking Army official in the South Asian country, which has been rocked by violence lately amid a stepped-up offensive by Taliban insurgents.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the assassination, in which a soldier was also killed. The Pakistani Taliban have said they were behind other recent attacks, including a siege on the military's headquarters.
Brigadier Moinudin Ahmed was leading a Pakistani unit attached to the UN peacekeeping mission in Sudan, and had returned to Islamabad on a visit, reports the Pakistani daily Dawn. He was riding in an unarmored jeep, the common form of transport for military officials in the capital, where until now they have been able to move freely, says The New York Times.
It was unclear whether the attack was direct retaliation for the Army's offensive in South Waziristan, where some 30,000 troops are attempting to rout a force of about 12,000 Taliban fighters. That effort has displaced tens of thousands of residents in the region who are becoming increasingly frustrated, reports The Christian Science Monitor.
"We feel this is a war against our whole tribe," says Aslam Khan, an elderly Mehsud tribesman who arrived from the town of Sararogha two weeks ago and is attempting to register himself and nine members of his family to ensure they are eligible for aid.
Hundreds of men like him show up every morning at the city's five refugee registration points on behalf of their extended families (one man appeared to register 33 relatives). But many are turned away after hours of waiting and told to return the next day by inundated authorities. On Wednesday, fresh registrations were halted due to a shortage of forms.