Top Taliban leader vows revenge on America

Following US missile strikes on Damadola village, a militant stronghold in Bajur tribal region near the Afghanistan border, Faqir Muhammad, a top Taliban leader vowed revenge on the US. The attacks were also condemned by the governor of the NWFP. The NWFP government has been involved in peace talks with the Taliban and it is feared that these missile attacks will derail those talks. Later Thursday, several thousand protesters attended rallies called by Islamist political parties in Damadola and Khar, Bajur’s main town. Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed Sadiq denied that Pakistan had given the US permission to target foreign militants on Pakistan soil.

Article: Top Taliban leader vows revenge on America
Author: Habibullah Khan
Publication: The Associated Press

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Firing at LoC, India concerned

Ahmed reports that, for the first time since Pakistan’s November 2003 declaration of ceasefire, its troops have fired at Indian positions in Tangdhar Sector of the Kashmir valley. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is quoted as finding this to be a worrisome development. Violence is on the increase in the Valley as well as in the plains.

Article: Firing at LoC, India concerned
Author: Rashid Ahmed
Publication: The Hindustan Times

Pakistan Aims to Quell Hostilities

On Wednesday, Pakistan freed 37 militants and Pakistani troops started pulling out of South Waziristan. Government officials reported that the government and militants were close to reaching a peace agreement. However, NATO is concerned that Pakistan’s attempts to broker peace with the militants is leading to an increase in attacks by insurgents in Eastern Afghanistan against the coalition forces.

Article: Pakistan Aims to Quell Hostilities
Author: Zahid Hussain
Publication: The Wall Street Journal

Dozen militants killed in suspected US strike in Pakistan: security official

At least a dozen militants including foreign fighters were killed Wednesday in a suspected US missile strike on two houses in northwestern Pakistan. The attack came on the same day that NATO urged Pakistan to tighten security on its border with Afghanistan, following a surge in attacks on coalition troops in Eastern Afghanistan. Pakistan’s chief military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas told AFP that the army was unaware of any missile strike in the region.

Article: Dozen militants killed in suspected US strike in Pakistan
Publication: The Associated Press

Another D-Day for Pakistan over militants

Pakistani security forces last week blocked the main artery into the South Waziristan tribal area from Afghanistan. The writer argues that the Taliban needs to keep supply lines open in order to move more men across the border into Pakistan. By keeping up the fighting, the militants hope to derail the US and Pakistan’s original plan for dealing with the Taliban which was to “chop off” the more hardline elements through special operations by US-trained Pakistani units and then leave the local Jirgas to attempt to find a middle ground with the remaining, more moderate elements. Unfortunately, the military operations in Swat and Al-Qaeda’s “chaos strategy” after the Lal Masjid operation has put a halt to these plans and the Pakistan government is now faced with the decision of how far to go to against people like Mehsud.

Article: Another D-Day for Pakistan over militants
Author: Syed Saleem Shahzad
Publication: The Asia Times Online

War takes time out for opium windfall

Every spring in Kandahar, the fighting dies down for a few weeks in April and May as all the young men are busy harvesting the poppy crop. Once the crops are harvested, however, the fighting returns with a vengeance as young men, flush in the pocket from their work on the farm, are able to afford better ammunition and supplies. “Whatever the reason, the escalating violence of each summer is sickeningly predictable – so predictable, in fact, that pharmacists in Kandahar city are stocking extra medicines in anticipation of higher casualties and increased sales.”

War takes time out for opium windfall
Author: Katherine O’Neill and Graeme Smith
Publication: The Globe and Mail