Wednesday Pakistan closed all educational institutions after twin suicide bombings at a university. This demonstrates the power of militants to disrupt everyday life as they fight back against a major army offensive in the northwest.
Tuesday's attack occurred at the International Islamic University in Pakistan's capital, Islamabad, a target that surprised many in a country all too used to terror. Eight people died, including two women and the two attackers. All but one of the victims were students.
"Godless, kill in God's name," read the headline of The News daily.
Interior Ministry spokesman Rashid Mazari said schools and colleges would be closed until the end of the week so they could improve security measures, The Associated Press reports.
News agencies also report, while Islamic extremists have bombed many foreign and Pakistani institutions in recent years, yesterday's attack was the first at a major university amid the jihadists' battle with the state. The sprawling government-run university has 18,000 students, 1,500 of them foreign.
The attacks targeted a cafeteria used by women students and a men's hostel, Islamabad's chief of police, Bin Yamin, said in an interview. The twin suicide blasts, which came within minutes of each other, killed three women and two men, Bloomberg reports.
It was also reported, when suicide bombers struck the conservative gender-segregated campus simultaneously many of the students and residents of Islamabad were perplexed.
"When I heard that it was Islamic University, I wondered why an Islamic institution would come under attack," said Erum Yasser, 32, a homemaker who was visiting Islamabad from her home in New Jersey.
The answer, she figured, was that the militants just needed a target and had stopped caring what the target was.
Attacks like this one, following far larger ones in the last two weeks at security installations and in crowded marketplaces, have increasingly soured public opinion of the Taliban.
While anti-Americanism still runs high, and while there remains support for some militant groups that are considered allies of the state, there is also support building for the military's campaign to squeeze the Taliban militants who have used Pakistan's tribal areas as a base to train and dispatch their suicide bombers, News & Observer reports.
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