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Sep 10, 2013

Exclusive: Pakistan to free former Taliban second in command this month

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan will release former Afghan Taliban second-in-command, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, as soon as this month to help advance peace efforts in neighboring Afghanistan, Pakistan’s foreign policy chief said on Tuesday.

Pakistan is under growing pressure to free senior Taliban figures, particularly Baradar, to boost reconciliation efforts, as most NATO combat troops prepare to pull out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014 and anxiety grows over the country’s security.

Sep 7, 2013

Pakistan releases seven Afghan Taliban fighters

ISLAMABAD/KABUL (Reuters) – Pakistan freed a group of Afghan Taliban on Saturday in an attempt to improve its troubled relations with the South Asian neighbor, but risked angering Afghanistan by not handing them over directly to the Kabul authorities.

The announcement followed last month’s trip by Afghan President Hamid Karzai to Pakistan, where he sought the handover of some Afghan insurgents as part of the stalled peace process.

Sep 6, 2013

Wanted in U.S. and India, Hafiz Saeed leads mass rally in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Hafiz Saeed, a Pakistani Islamist with a $10 million U.S. bounty on his head, appeared openly at a rally in Islamabad on Friday, denouncing India as a terrorist state as thousands of his supporters chanted for “holy war” against the rival nuclear nation.

India has accused Hafiz Saeed of masterminding the 2008 attack on its financial capital Mumbai where gunmen killed 166 people over three days. The United States has offered $10 million for information leading to his arrest and conviction.

Sep 6, 2013

Wanted in U.S. and India, Islamist leads mass rally in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – A Pakistani Islamist with a $10 million U.S. bounty on his head appeared openly at a rally in Islamabad on Friday, denouncing India as a terrorist state as thousands of his supporters chanted for “holy war” against the rival nuclear nation.

India has accused Hafiz Saeed of masterminding the 2008 attack on its financial capital Mumbai where gunmen killed 166 people over three days. The United States has offered $10 million for information leading to his arrest and conviction.

Aug 18, 2013

Guessing game as Pakistan army chief prepares to retire

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – In a nation long plagued by military coups, the question of who will replace Pakistan’s all-powerful army chief has taken on new urgency this year as the country tries to shake off the legacy of decades of military dictatorship.

General Ashfaq Kayani, arguably the most powerful man in the nuclear-armed country, is expected to step down after six years in November – presenting Pakistan’s new premier with the toughest of choices yet since coming to power in May.

Aug 17, 2013

Guessing game as Pakistan’s powerful army chief prepares to retire

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – In a nation long plagued by military coups, the question of who will replace Pakistan’s all-powerful army chief has taken on new urgency this year as the country tries to shake off the legacy of decades of military dictatorship.

General Ashfaq Kayani, arguably the most powerful man in the nuclear-armed country, is expected to step down after six years in November – presenting Pakistan’s new premier with the toughest of choices yet since coming to power in May.

Aug 14, 2013

Renewed LoC shelling as India, Pakistan trade blame

ISLAMABAD/SRINAGAR (Reuters) – India and Pakistan accused each other of provoking violence on their troubled Kashmir frontier on Wednesday as a week of cross-border shelling threatened to derail attempts to resume peace talks between the nuclear-armed rivals.

Tension flared along the de-facto border on August 6 when five Indian soldiers were ambushed and killed in a remote Himalayan district. India blamed the attack on the Pakistan army. Pakistan denied any involvement.

Aug 14, 2013

Renewed cross-border shelling as Pakistan, India trade blame

ISLAMABAD/SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) – Pakistan and India accused each other of provoking violence on their troubled Kashmir frontier on Wednesday as a week of cross-border shelling threatened to derail attempts to resume peace talks between the nuclear-armed rivals.

Tension flared along the de-facto border on August 6 when five Indian soldiers were ambushed and killed in a remote Himalayan district. India blamed the attack on the Pakistan army. Pakistan denied any involvement.

Aug 1, 2013

Kerry says hopes Pakistan drone strikes to end soon

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told Pakistanis on Thursday that Washington planned to end drone strikes in their country soon – a message aimed at removing a major source of anti-American resentment in the strategically important country.

After meeting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Kerry said they had agreed to re-establish a “full partnership”, hoping to end years of acrimony over the drone strikes and other grievances including the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

Aug 1, 2013

U.S., Pakistan agree to start new chapter in long-strained relations

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – The United States and Pakistan agreed on Thursday to re-establish a “full partnership”, hoping to end years of acrimony over U.S. drone strikes on Pakistani soil, the raid that killed Osama bin Laden and other grievances.

“We are here to speak honestly with each other, openly about any gaps that may exist that we want to try to bridge,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said during an unannounced visit to Islamabad. “Our people deserve that we talk directly.”