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Pakistanis stage rare protest to ‘save Pakistan, fight Taliban’

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K.M.Chaudary/AP

(Read caption) Pakistanis rallied against the Taliban in Lahore Tuesday, urging the government to step up its fight against the militants.

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LAHORE, PAKISTAN – Hundreds of protesters marched to Lahore’s General Post Office on Tuesday armed with letters urging the government to step up its fight against Islamist insurgents.

“Mr. President, we too must fight the Taliban, who have chosen to fight against the state and who routinely terrorize and kill innocent Pakistanis. It is incumbent upon you to mobilize the nation against the scourge of the Taliban before it is too late,” read the letter, which was circulated through email and Facebook ahead of the demonstration.

Though relatively small in size, the demonstration reflects growing concern in Pakistan's urban centers against the expansion of Taliban forces in the northwest. Last week the militants moved beyond their stronghold in Swat Valley into the neighboring districts of Buner and Shangla, some 60 miles from Islamabad (see the Monitor's story here).

Bombs over Buner

A few hours after the protest, security forces began aerial bombing of Buner, according to Army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas. Casualty figures are not yet known. The attack expanded the military's latest efforts to confront the Taliban, which began Sunday in a neighboring district, Lower Dir.

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