"ISLAMABAD (AP) A Pakistani official played down suggestions that the Taliban had become entrenched in the nuclear-armed country's heartland Friday, a day after a series of deadly attacks indicated the Islamist extremists have made inroads far from their sanctuaries along the Afghan border.
"A wave of violence in the past two weeks has killed more than 150 people in Pakistan and fueled concerns that the Taliban had linked up with other militant groups around the country, forming an insurgent alliance that would vastly increase the threats to the U.S.-allied country.
"On Thursday, gunmen attacked three law enforcement compounds in the country's second-largest city of Lahore the capital of the Punjab killing 19 people. The nine attackers were also killed. The new violence appeared aimed at preventing the army from launching an offensive in the militant stronghold of South Waziristan along the Afghan border."