Government troops storm Police Academy in Pakistan overrun by terrorists

Are these attacks carried out in spite of the Pakistani government's efforts to negotiate with extremists or because of them?

Pakistani security forces overpowered a group of gunmen who staged a deadly assault on a police academy Monday, capturing six of the militants while eight others died during an hours-long battle in the country's east.

The well-organized, highly coordinated assault left at least 11 officers dead, though the death toll was expected to rise because some of the bodies were inside the compound.

Security forces including the army battled the gunmen for around eight hours. They managed to corner several on the top floor of a building on the compound, where the gunmen were holding some 35 hostages, said Rao Iftikhar, a top government official in Punjab province, of which Lahore is capital. Mr. Iftikhar confirmed that six of the militants were arrested. Of the eight dead, two blew themselves up, he said.

"The attackers who were in police uniform, opened fire after throwing grenades. There was complete panic," said a trainee who was injured in the attack. Police said the attackers took up positions on the roof of the two-story building and began firing indiscriminately. "There are at least 20 gunmen still holed up," said an official. Two of the attackers were killed in the gunbattle, he said.

Pakistan is in a world of trouble and given their fractured government, it is unlikely they can address the problem of terrorism in any meaningful way. There is a large faction that believes they can deal with the terrorists while a smaller faction wants to hit them where they live - in the wild NWFP where tribal loyalties can be bought and training camps and other infrastructure has been set up by the terrorists.

So far, the government has ceded sovereignty in two key areas in the Swat region. There wasn't much sovereignty there to begin with but these areas are now under the thumb of extremists.

Where will it lead? They are hoping it leads to peace and participation by the extremists in the democratic process. It is more likely that it will lead to additional attacks and pressure on the government to give up ever larger swaths of their own territory.

So far, the government seems nearly powerless to stop it.


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