Shortly after last week's attacks on former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, TODAY News Anchor Ann Curry traveled to Karachi to report from Pakistan.
Ann's exclusive interview with Bhutto airs Monday morning on TODAY, and she filed this report while traveling to Pakistan.
It was in darkness when the bombs exploded, two of them, seconds apart. After the chaos came the reckoning: 134 dead, hundreds more wounded. It was one of the deadliest attacks in the history of Pakistan, but the target, a woman, survived without a scratch.
Benazir Bhutto in person looks more like an elegant matron, in her flowing robes and flawless makeup, than someone who would knowingly court danger.
Knowing it risked her safety, she aligned herself with the U.S. government against the Taliban and Al Qaeda terrorists in Pakistan. And then, despite warnings that suicide bombers would come after her, she returned home from exile to Pakistan.
Just what sort of person does this?
The eldest daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a former president and prime minister of Pakistan, she was imprisoned in solitary confinement when her father was deposed and executed.
Destiny, she says, made her a political activist, and at 35, she was elected prime minister, becoming one of the only women
the only woman in modern times to govern an Islamic state.
The price: her brothers were killed, her husband was tortured, and she was humiliated by charges of corruption. She fled Pakistan in disgrace.
You'd think she'd quit.
But no, seeing a chance now, eight years later, to help Pakistan return to democracy, she comes home knowing she could be killed. In fact, she was attacked just hours after landing.
Sure, she is popular with the majority in Pakistan, who wish for democracy, but she does not get along with Pakistan's unpopular but powerful military leader, President Pervez Musharraf. It is said they detest each other, which might help explain why his government did not do more to protect her.
Though shaken by the attack, and knowing another is being planned, she insists on staying. Madness? Or a deep love of country?
She wants to run for re-election and push Pakistan toward democracy and away from extremists who've been coming across the border from Afghanistan and radicalizing the young in Pakistan.
As our NBC News team travels to Pakistan to track its increasing violence, the question arises: is it possible this war on terrorism could be influenced by whether one woman can stay alive?