– Pakistan Militants Bomb Multan, 100 Dead in Five Days (Bloomberg)
Dec. 8 (Bloomberg) — Militants bombed a fifth Pakistani city in as many days, the latest attack in a nationwide surge in violence that has killed about 100 people, half of them in the country’s economic powerhouse region of Punjab.
A bomb near the spy agency’s office in the Punjab city of Multan killed 12 people. Earlier, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said 40 people died and 100 were injured last night in bombings at a market in Lahore, the provincial capital. Pakistan’s key stock index fell 1.7 percent to its lowest in almost a month.
“The militants are going for civilian and security targets in a no-holds-barred manner and in a barbaric manner,” Mahmood Shah, a security analyst, said in a telephone interview from the northwestern city of Peshawar, where 10 people were killed in a bombing yesterday.
About 450 civilians and security officials have died in retaliatory bomb and gunfire attacks since Pakistan’s army began an offensive Oct. 17 against Taliban guerrillas in the tribal region of South Waziristan, near the border with Afghanistan. President Barack Obama has called Afghanistan and Pakistan the “epicenter of violent extremism practiced by al-Qaeda.”
Remember that there are only 100 Al-Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan according to the US government:
President Barack Obama made the decision to send some 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan despite being informed that the country is now host to only 100 Al Qaeda fighters, ABC News reports.
A senior U.S. intelligence official told ABCNews.com the approximate estimate of 100 al Qaeda members left in Afghanistan reflects the conclusion of American intelligence agencies and the Defense Department. The relatively small number was part of the intelligence passed on to the White House as President Obama conducted his deliberations.
ABC News estimates that, with the surge included, there will be a ratio of 1,000 US troops for every Al Qaeda member in the country. The cost of the war will work out to $300 million for every Al Qaeda fighter.
At least 43 killed in Pakistan bomb blasts
Bomb blasts have torn through two of Pakistan’s main cities overnight, killing at least 43 people and wounding more than 100 as the nation struggles to quell a worsening Taliban insurgency.
Two blasts devastated a busy market and engulfed it in flames killing at least 33 people in Lahore, the capital of Punjab province, while in the north-west provincial capital of Peshawar a suicide bomber killed 10 people.
Attacks blamed on Islamist militants have surged this year as Pakistan presses military offensives against the Taliban across the north-west, under fierce US pressure to do more to destroy the extremists’ strongholds.