SHOWDOWN

Pakistan Returns Fire

The Pakistani army has finally responded to the Taiban's growing presence in the country, and they swear the operation has nothing to do with pressure from the U.S. The military has entered Lower Dir, a region of strategic importance due to its border with Afghanistan. Many of the Taliban fighters there are thought to have recently arrived after leaving Bunur, the region that is only a mere 60 miles from Islamabad. The government had negotiated a deal with the Taliban in which the insurgents would be allowed to control certain territories and impose harsh Sharia law provided they lay down their weapons. That agreement appears to be scrapped. The Pakistani government says they have opened the offensive "at the request of the provincial government and local residents." Few other details are currently available.