Top Pakistani army officer assassinated

In the latest strike by militants in Pakistan's anxious and battened-down capital, a senior army officer has been assassinated in rush hour traffic by a gunman who escaped on a motorbike.

In what is believed to have been the first such targeted killing of a high-ranking soldier, Brigadier Moinudin Ahmed's unprotected jeep was sprayed with automatic gunfire at around 9.30am yesterday. The officer and another soldier were killed, while the driver was wounded.

The attack on the crest of a hill on the outskirts of the city is the latest in a wave of strikes across Pakistan that has left more than 170 dead. Ahead of last week's launch by the Pakistan military of a long-anticipated operation against Taliban and al-Qa'ida fighters, officials had warned the public to expect retaliatory attacks from militants. But the wave of violence of the past two weeks, including deadly strikes in Lahore and Peshawar, has shown the militants using increasingly sophisticated and varied tactics.

The shooting of Brig Ahmed follows a suicide bomb attack on an Islamic university in the city, an assault on army headquarters in neighbouring Rawalpindi and a strike on a UN office in the capital. Although security has been massively stepped up, with roadblocks multiplying and increasing numbers of security personnel carrying out checks, many fear the situation is deteriorating. Schools have been shut across many parts of Pakistan following the attacks.

"Things have got a lot worse in the last couple of weeks. Everyone here is scared," said Ali Ashgar, a hotel worker. "People also think that the situation is going to get worse as long as the operation in Waziristan continues."

Outwardly Islamabad looks like a city going about its normal business, but an indication of the level of nervousness came yesterday morning when there were reports that a bomb had been found and shots fired at a courthouse. It transpired that the "gunshots" were actually the sound of shopkeepers hastily shuttering their stalls following the false report of a bomb. The nation's stock market fell by nearly 3 per cent on the news.

Last night no one had claimed responsibility for the killing of the officer, but military officials said they had no doubt that the attack was linked to the Waziristan offensive, even though the victim had no connection to the campaign. Brig Ahmed was the deputy head of the UN peacekeeping mission in Sudan and was home on holiday.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
tech

Company reveals $542m investment in start-up building 'a rocket ship for the mind'

News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
football

News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album