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Mar 25, 2014

Taliban gunmen storm election office near Afghan presidential candidate’s home

KABUL (Reuters) – Suicide bombers and gunmen in Afghanistan attacked an election commission office beside the home of presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday, rattling nerves in the Afghan capital less than two weeks before a crucial election.

Kabul is on high alert ahead of the April 5 presidential vote that Taliban insurgents have threatened to derail through a campaign of bombings and assassinations.

Mar 24, 2014

Afghanistan says Pakistan behind deadly Kabul hotel attack

KABUL (Reuters) – Afghanistan accused Pakistan’s intelligence service on Monday of staging last week’s attack on a hotel in Kabul in which nine people including foreigners were shot dead by militants.

Afghanistan usually speaks of unnamed foreign powers when it wants to hint at a suspected Pakistani role in an incident, but the statement by Afghanistan’s NDS intelligence agency pointed its finger directly at Islamabad.

Mar 14, 2014

From his Pakistan hideout, Uighur leader vows revenge on China

DERA ISMAIL KHAN/ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Entrenched in secret mountain bases on Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, Uighur fighters are gearing up for retribution against China to avenge the deaths of comrades in Beijing’s crackdown on a separatist movement, their leader told Reuters.

China, Pakistan’s only major ally in the region, has long urged Islamabad to weed out what it says are militants from its western region of Xinjiang, who are holed up in a lawless tribal belt, home to a lethal mix of militant groups, including the Taliban and al Qaeda.

Mar 3, 2014

At least 11 killed in attack on Pakistani court

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Gunmen burst into a court in a busy shopping area in the heart of Pakistan’s capital on Monday, killing at least 11 people in a suicide-bomb and gun attack likely to shatter any prospect of meaningful peace talks with Taliban insurgents.

The Pakistani Taliban, who have declared a month-long ceasefire to pursue peace talks with the government, immediately distanced themselves from the attack as well as a separate blast on the Afghan border which killed two soldiers.

Mar 3, 2014

At least 11 killed in brazen attack on Pakistani court

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Gunmen burst into a court in a busy shopping area in the center of the Pakistani capital on Monday, killing at least 11 people in a brazen attack likely to shatter any prospect of meaningful peace negotiations with Taliban insurgents.

A loud explosion reverberated across central Islamabad just after 9 a.m., followed by bursts of gunfire. Police said at least 30 were wounded. A judge was among those killed.

Feb 19, 2014

Pakistan army says more than 100 soldiers died in fighting

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan’s army on Wednesday said more than 100 soldiers had been killed by Taliban militants in the last five months, in a rare admission of mass casualties since the start of government efforts to engage the insurgents in peace talks.

The administration of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who came to power last year promising to find a negotiated peace with the Taliban, has been trying to engage the militants in talks but these efforts have faltered in past weeks.

Feb 18, 2014

Taliban kill senior Pakistan officer as peace talks falter

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistani Taliban fighters opened fire at an army car and killed a senior officer on Tuesday in an attack certain to destroy any prospects of meaningful peace negotiations between the government and the insurgents.

An attempt by representatives of both sides to meet and talk peace collapsed a day earlier after insurgents said they executed 23 soldiers in revenge for army operations in the volatile tribal regions on the Afghan border.

Feb 17, 2014

Peace talks between Pakistan and Taliban collapse after killings

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Peace talks between the Pakistani government and Taliban insurgents broke down on Monday after insurgents said they executed 23 soldiers in revenge for army operations in the volatile tribal regions on the Afghan border.

Pakistan watchers have always been skeptical that negotiations with the outlawed militant group could ever bring peace in a country where the Taliban are fighting to topple the government and set up an Islamic state.

Feb 6, 2014

Pakistan, Taliban start peace talks in Islamabad

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – A long-awaited first round of peace talks between Pakistani Taliban insurgents and the government began in Islamabad on Thursday after numerous delays and growing doubt over the chance of their success.

The insurgents have been battling since 2007 to topple Pakistan’s government and establish strict Islamic rule, but Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif believes both sides are now ready to find a negotiated settlement and stop fighting.

Feb 4, 2014

Confusion, doubt as Pakistan tries to talk to Taliban militants

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan’s much-awaited talks with the Taliban got off to a shambolic start on Tuesday after government negotiators failed to turn up at an agreed time following days of confusion over who should represent the insurgents.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif surprised his country last week when he announced he would give peace talks another chance just as speculation intensified that his government was preparing for a military offensive against Pakistani Taliban strongholds.