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Pakistani police a growing target, Lahore attack shows

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She takes a dim view of the military's interest in pursuing these groups, adding that top American officials publicly expressed doubts about it as recently as last week.

Instead, civilian law enforcement is key to beating insurgents in Pakistan because the Army has done little, Ms. Ahmed says, and because establishing the rule of law is the most effective weapon against armed militancy.

But police have neither the means nor the independence to do so, she continues. Police have told ICG that since Sept. 11, 2001 the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency has been given most of the power to deal with counterterrorism.

Even before Monday's attacks, the police had paid a price for its role in the investigation of the Mumbai attacks. Last week a suicide bomber targeted an Islamabad police station at the center of the investigation. One policeman who thwarted the bomber from entering the building died in the blast.

The two Lahore attacks suggest the police are outgunned and outwitted by an increasingly sophisticated breed of militants. Monday's attack suggests careful planning, down to the blue uniforms and timing during a parade of unarmed trainees.

The cricket attacks caught police flatfooted, despite official promises there would be top-notch security for the game. Instead, nearby police failed to respond in time to prevent the gunmen from casually getting away, though police on the scene did manage to protect the cricketers.

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