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Bill Delaney: Unrest in Pakistan

CNN's Bill Delaney
CNN's Bill Delaney  


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Civil unrest has been reported in some parts of Pakistan in relation to the U.S.-led bombing campaign in neighboring Afghanistan.

In southern Pakistan, Islamic extremists are suspected in a bloody attack Sunday on Christian churchgoers.

On Monday, thousands of Pakistani tribesmen reportedly sought to enter Afghanistan to help the ruling Taliban's military efforts.

CNN's Bill Delaney is based in Islamabad and filed the following report:

DELANEY: In this country of 140 million, protests and unrest still reflect only a small minority in this country. But the potency of it was shown nowhere more horrifically than at a Catholic church in southern Pakistan -- St. Dominic's -- where there was a massacre Sunday. Sixteen Protestants [part of a congregation that borrowed the church for services] worshipping there were attacked by gunmen who bolted the door of the church and sprayed gunfire on men, women and children. Thousands came to mourn at that church Monday. Islamic extremists are suspected in the shooting. The government has vowed to track them down. Muslim religious groups in Pakistan also condemn those killings.

On the northern border of Pakistan with Afghanistan, in another sign of the unrest, thousands of Pakistani tribesmen have gathered. They say they want to cross into Afghanistan to help the Taliban military.

The Pakistani government has vowed not to let them cross, and interestingly, at a press conference by the Taliban in Islamabad on Monday, the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan himself also discouraged these Pakistani tribesmen from crossing into Afghanistan.

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Observers here find it interesting that as we enter this fourth week of bombing in Afghanistan, the Taliban apparently are comfortable enough with their position not to want reinforcements to cross into Afghanistan to help them.

On the diplomatic front, the U.N. special envoy to Afghanistan [Lakhtar Brahimi] was in Pakistan Monday. He may meet with Taliban officials. Gen. Tommy Franks, commander in chief of U.S. Central Command, also arrived in Islamabad on Monday for meetings with Pakistani officials.

CNN: Pakistan may say they don't want those supporters of the Taliban to cross the border -- but that's an awfully porous border, isn't it?

DELANEY: Very much so. If these tribesmen want to get across, certainly in small numbers they will be able to do so. At the moment, they are traveling in motorized vehicles. Many of these vehicles are armed, and that will make it more difficult for them because they'd have to cross over roads. But if some of them want to cross, there will be a way to cross that porous border.



 
 
 
 


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