BREAKING NEWS: Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated this morning in an apparently coordinated attack in which she was shot and then her car was blown up by a suicide bomber, perhaps the same person who shot her. See this Fox News Report.
Bhutto — an outspoken proponent of democracy — had recently met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. She had been told that doing so would be very dangerous for her. Karzai’s government, of course, replaced the radical Islamic Taliban regime. The Taliban had been created and sustained for many years by the Inter-Service Intelligence agency, the central Pakistani intelligence agency. ISI is a government-within-a-government and not entirely controlled by the Musharraf government.
ISI is known to have continued its connections to the Taliban to this day. Its support for the Taliban is the reason that Pakistan has continued to provide Taliban leaders — including possibly Mullah Omar, the chief Taliban leader — with sanctuary. The Taliban leaders, according to US military sources, have had sanctuary in the Pakistani city of Quetta for more than a year.
There will be civil unrest as a result of the Bhutto assassination, which we should watch carefully. It may be that Musharraf’s rule will be weakened and ISI will have more control, with greater ability to support Taliban and al-Queda organizations in Pakistan’s cities and remote tribal areas.