Punjab Research Group

United Militants Threaten Pakistan’s Populous Heart – The New York Times

Posted in Articles by Pippa on April 15, 2009

April 14, 2009

This article was reported by Sabrina Tavernise, Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Eric Schmitt and written by Ms. Tavernise.

DERA GHAZI KHAN, Pakistan — Taliban insurgents are teaming up with local militant groups to make inroads in Punjab, the province that is home to more than half of Pakistanis, reinvigorating an alliance that Pakistani and American authorities say poses a serious risk to the stability of the country.

The deadly assault in March in Lahore, Punjab’s capital, against the Sri Lankan cricket team, and the bombing last fall of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, the national capital, were only the most spectacular examples of the joint campaign, they said.

Now police officials, local residents and analysts warn that if the government does not take decisive action, these dusty, impoverished fringes of Punjab could be the next areas facing the insurgency. American intelligence and counterterrorism officials also said they viewed the developments with alarm.

“I don’t think a lot of people understand the gravity of the issue,” said a senior police official in Punjab, who declined to be identified because he was discussing threats to the state. “If you want to destabilize Pakistan, you have to destabilize Punjab.”

Read full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/14/world/asia/14punjab.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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