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Archive for June 29th, 2008

Taliban offensive in Pakistan threatens troop supply lines

Posted by Charles II on June 29, 2008

Andrew Buncombe, London Independent:

Pakistan’s military yesterday launched what it described as a major offensive against Taliban forces that were threatening to take control of the city of Peshawar.

In recent weeks, militants have been tightening their hold on villages and towns on the outskirts of the city, capital of Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province (NWFP). Truckloads of Taliban fighters armed with automatic weapons have been entering the city, threatening video store owners and others in a “moral crackdown”. A number of residents have also been abducted for ransom….

The threat to Peshawar highlights the Taliban’s steady growth in Pakistan. Many believe the movement is exploiting a power vacuum in Islamabad, where there has been constant infighting since February’s election produced a coalition government led by the Pakistan People’s Party.

Pakistan’s tribal areas have fallen ever further into the grip of the Taliban and al-Qa’ida, but for one of the country’s major cities to do so would cause an international alarm. The US argues that a major supply route for its troops in Afghanistan through the Khyber Pass would be threatened and, with its allies, has opposed the new government’s efforts to negotiate ceasefires with the militants.

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