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Pakistan Official's Killing Underscores U.S. Terror Report

Aug 5, 2010

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Reported by

Frank James

The news out of Pakistan that a senior Pakistani official was killed Wednesday by a Taliban suicide bomber only served to reinforce that terrorism is a far greater existential threat to that country than India, its traditional geopolitical rival.

That sense was also contained in a fairly somber State Department report on global terrorism in 2009 that was issued Thursday.

Sifwat Ghayoor, the murdered commandant of Pakistan's Frontier Constabulary, was seen as one of the U.S.' strongest allies in the fight against extremists in Pakistan's tribal northwest territories.

As NPR's Julie McCarthy reported from Pakistan for the network's newscast:

in what appeared to be a well-planned attack, the bomber detonated his explosives beside Ghayoor's car in the center of the city after laying in wait for him at a traffic light.

The United States has provided billions (of dollars) to assist Pakistan's security forces including the Frontier Constabulary which supports the traditional police.

The U.S. embassy called Wednesday's assassination "especially vicious" as so many people are struggling to recover from the deadliest floods to hit Pakistan in generations.

In its report written before the assassination, State Department officials described the terrorism situation in Pakistan in 2009 fairly sobering terms.

An excerpt:

Foreign terrorist organizations, including al-Qa'ida (AQ) and its affiliates, continued to operate and carry out attacks in Pakistan. Violence stemming from Sunni-Shia sectarian strife and ethnic tensions, limited to certain geographical areas, claimed civilian lives.

Similar to last year, attacks occurred with greatest frequency in the regions bordering Afghanistan, including Baluchistan, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). Attacks targeting the country's major urban centers, including Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Karachi, and Rawalpindi, continued to increase.The coordination, sophistication, and frequency of suicide bombings continued to climb in 2009. (See the NCTC Annex of Statistic Information or www.nctc.gov for precise figures).

These suicide attacks often resulted in large numbers of casualties, with about 50 percent of them occurring in Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, and Rawalpindi. The terrorists launched complex attacks and chose high-value targets, coordinating their attacks with greater precision. Foreign terrorist organizations, including al-Qa'ida (AQ) and its affiliates, continued to operate and carry out attacks in Pakistan. Violence stemming from Sunni-Shia sectarian strife and ethnic tensions, limited to certain geographical areas, claimed civilian lives.

Similar to last year, attacks occurred with greatest frequency in the regions bordering Afghanistan, including Baluchistan, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). Attacks targeting the country's major urban centers, including Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Karachi, and Rawalpindi, continued to increase.

The coordination, sophistication, and frequency of suicide bombings continued to climb in 2009. (See the NCTC Annex of Statistic Information or www.nctc.gov for precise figures). These suicide attacks often resulted in large numbers of casualties, with about 50 percent of them occurring in Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, and Rawalpindi. The terrorists launched complex attacks and chose high-value targets, coordinating their attacks with greater precision...

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