RFE/RL – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (Author)
Pakistan's military launched a nationwide antiterrorist operation on February 22 after a series of extremist attacks killed more than 100 people across the country.
Pakistan has been on high alert since last week's wave of attacks, including an Islamic State suicide bombing at a famed Sufi shrine that killed at least 90.
The devastating assault on the shrine in Sindh came after a Taliban suicide bombing in Lahore on February 13, which killed 13 people, and a series of other attacks.
A resurgence of the Taliban and IS would be a major blow to Pakistan, where optimism about a recent decline in violence had been growing after a decade-long war on militancy.
Prior to last week's attacks, Pakistan's antiterrorist operations had focused mainly on the country's troubled northwestern tribal region and militants there linked to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
Islamabad has broadened its crackdown since last week, with Pakistani forces claiming to have killed dozens of "terrorists" in strikes on militant hideouts along the Afghanistan border.
The latest campaign includes the most populous province of Punjab, a stronghold of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who gave the go-ahead to deploy Ranger Forces there.
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