Pakistani militants and Taliban join forces against NATO

Pakistani militants pledged Sunday to cease their four-year insurgency against Pakistani security forces and join the Taliban’s war against NATO troops in Afghanistan.

The agreement reunited four major Pakistan-based militant factions under the flag of Mullah Mohammed Omar, the Taliban chief, an announcement by the militants said.

Security experts in Islamabad said the agreement to end the insurgency with Pakistan was a tactical move by the Taliban. It has lost hundreds of fighters during a two-year surge of U.S. forces in its southern Afghanistan strongholds.

The Pakistani militants, too, have been pummeled by security forces since 2009, and by late 2011, had splintered into dozens of factions without a unified command. The agreement coincided with discrete negotiations between the Pakistani militants and the
government.

The pact would enable Omar to reinforce the Taliban ranks, while the pledged cessation of attacks against the Pakistani security forces would allow the militants greater freedom to launch cross-border attacks into Afghanistan.

"It will take a lot of pressure off the militants and deepen the tensions between the U.S. and Pakistan," said Mansur Mahsud, director of research at the Fata Research Center, an independent think tank. "There will be angry complaints by the Americans, and
counter-accusations by Pakistan that NATO isn’t stopping raids by Pakistani insurgents from Afghan territory."

Taliban sources said three heavyweight militants mediated the intra-militant pact, reached after a month and a half of reportedly tense negotiations: Abu Yahya al Libbi of al-Qaida and Maulana Mansoor and Siraj-ud-Din Haqqani of the Taliban.

The agreement bound together the factions, which had occasionally fought one another over territory, into a consultative council based in the twin Pakistani tribal regions of North and South Waziristan.

 

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