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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


Deadly Clashes in Pakistan's South Add to Security Woes

By VOA News
30 April 2009

Ethnic clashes in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi have left at least 34 people dead and added to security concerns, as the country battles Taliban militants in the northwest.

Paramilitary troops are patrolling the streets of Karachi Thursday, and all schools have been ordered closed. A spokesman for the paramilitary force says more than 25 suspects have been arrested in connection with the violence that broke out one day earlier.

Gunfire erupted in Karachi Wednesday, as tensions flared between Pashtuns from the northwest who support the Awami National Party and Urdu-speaking people with Indian roots who support the rival Muttahida Qaumi Movement.

These ethnic clashes are separate from the violence in the northwest, where security forces are battling Islamic extremists.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has urged his country to unify against extremism as the military leads a major assault against Taliban militants in Buner district - 100 kilometers from the capital, Islamabad.

In a statement late Wednesday, Mr. Zardari said the "time has come for the entire nation to give pause to their political differences." He also emphasized the need to keep Pakistan as a "moderate, modern and democratic state."

The military said Wednesday it took control of a main town in Buner, after attack helicopters killed more than 50 Taliban militants.

Washington has been watching the situation closely. The Obama administration has asked for $400 million in emergency funds to help equip and train Pakistan's army to fight the insurgents.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Wednesday Britain will spend nearly $1 billion on aid to Pakistan aimed at rooting out terrorists, particularly along the Afghan-Pakistani border.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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