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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.

Dec 23, 2013

Pakistani army launches offensive near Afghan border

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Residents of Pakistan’s ethnic Pashtun region of North Waziristan accused government troops on Monday of killing dozens of civilians during a military operation against Taliban insurgents.

The operation started just after a December 18 suicide bomb attack on a checkpoint in North Waziristan, a stronghold for al Qaeda-linked Taliban militants on Pakistan’s mountainous border with Afghanistan.

Dec 17, 2013

Pakistan says no to military action against Taliban

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan ruled out military action against the Taliban on Tuesday and promised to persuade insurgents to lay down their weapons through peace negotiations.

Mullah Fazlullah, the Pakistani Taliban’s new hardline leader, has rejected outright the idea of peace talks and vowed to step up attacks as part of his campaign to topple the central government and establish Islamist rule in Pakistan.

Dec 2, 2013

Lawyers, families urge Pakistan to free Bagram detainees

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) – Family members and lawyers representing a group of Pakistani men released from a U.S. military prison but held by Pakistani authorities urged the government on Monday to free them or explain why they are still being kept behind bars.

The six men were arrested by U.S. authorities in neighboring Afghanistan on suspicion of links to the Taliban but they were released on November 16 from the high-security Bagram prison there without charge.

Nov 28, 2013

Afghanistan’s Karzai stands alone in high-stakes game with U.S.

KABUL (Reuters) – President Hamid Karzai’s stubborn refusal to sign a pact that would keep thousands of U.S. troops in Afghanistan after 2014 is a high-risk gamble that Washington will give in to his demands, one that has left him isolated as the clock runs down on his presidency.

Diplomats said he may have over-played his hand, raising the risk of a complete U.S. withdrawal from the insurgency-plagued country where Western troops have fought Taliban militants for the past 12 years. It also risks a backlash at home by critics who believe he is playing a dangerous game with the country’s future security.

Nov 14, 2013

Leader’s death plunges Pakistan Taliban into dangerous disarray

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – The killing of one of Pakistan’s most wanted Islamic militants in a U.S. drone strike has exposed centuries-old rivalries within the group he led, the Pakistani Taliban, making the insurgency ever more unpredictable and probably more violent.

Hakimullah Mehsud’s death this month has set off a power struggle within the outfit’s ranks, which could further unnerve a region already on tenterhooks with most U.S.-led troops pulling out of neighboring Afghanistan in 2014.