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The Red Mosque Has Finally Been Flushed Out

More on what the Pakistanis poetically called “Operation Silence,” from a mournful Associated Press:

Fighting ends at Pakistan mosque

By SADAQAT JAN, Associated Press Writer

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Pakistani commandos cleared the warren-like Red Mosque complex of all its die-hard defenders Wednesday, following an assault that ended a bloody eight-day siege and left more than 80 dead, including a pro-Taliban cleric.

Maj. Gen. Waheed Arshad said the compound was still being combed for mines, booby traps and other weaponry.

“The first phase of the operation is over. There are no more militants left inside,” Arshad said in a telephone interview.

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz told reporters that no bodies of women and children had been found inside the sprawling complex and said the probability such bodies would be found during the “mopping up” operation was low.

“The major group of women was all together and came out all together,” he said, referring to 27 women and three children who emerged from the mosque Tuesday…

An army officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said troops moved from room to room in basements of the compound, blowing up foxholes where militants had been entrenched.

Ghazi’s body was found in the basement of a women’s religious school after a fierce gunbattle between government troops and militants, said Brig. Javed Iqbal Cheema, a senior Interior Ministry official.

Several security officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media, said Ghazi was wounded by two bullets and gave no response when ordered to surrender. Commandos then fired another volley and found him dead…

The military announced that about 1,300 people had escaped or otherwise left the compound since July 3. Authorities took an unknown number into custody, while others, mostly young students, have returned to their homes…

Following several fiery anti-government protests Tuesday, about 500 people chanting “Death to Musharraf!” rallied for an hour Wednesday in the northwest frontier city of Peshawar.

This (mosque attack) is part of our government’s action against religious elements to please America,” said Shabbir Khan, a lawmaker from an opposition Islamic party, at the demonstration…

In neighboring Afghanistan, a senior Taliban commander, Mansoor Dadullah, urged Muslims to launch suicide attacks on Pakistani security forces, calling the assault “a cruel act.”

“I would have sent 10,000 mujahedeen to support the (Red Mosque) students but we are busy in Afghanistan and Islamabad is far from Afghanistan. I wished to go myself to support them,” he told The Associated Press by telephone…

Compare the time and trouble it took Pakistan’s top commandos to clear this building of a couple thousand lightly armed students. A building where all communication, power and water had been cut off.

Now think of what a job our forces face in Iraq, a country that is the size of California.

“I would have sent 10,000 mujahedeen to support the (Red Mosque) students but we are busy in Afghanistan

Substitute the US for Pakistan, and you see why we are in Afghanistan and Iraq.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, July 11th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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