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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.”

Jul 31, 2013

Taliban jailbreak prompts fears of more attacks on Pakistan prisons

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistani authorities moved some of their most notorious militant inmates after an intelligence warning of an imminent jailbreak but a Taliban raid this week has raised fears about the security of all Pakistani prisons.

Pakistan was taken off guard on Monday when a squad of highly trained Taliban fighters overran a century-old prison in Dera Ismail Khan, a town on the edge of a lawless ethnic Pashtun tribal area, setting free a band of senior militants together with more than 200 other inmates.

Jul 25, 2013

Undeterred by Taliban, climbers scale Pakistan’s Killer Mountain

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – When Taliban gunmen mowed down a group of foreign climbers last month, Romanian mountaineer Zsolt Torok was perched on an icy flank of Pakistan’s second-highest peak oblivious to the mayhem unfolding thousands of meters below.

“I called my wife (on a satellite phone) and she said the Taliban came and killed everyone in the base camp,” he said. “I was shocked. We survived only because we’d chosen a different route.”

Jul 23, 2013

Despite promises to talk, new Pakistan PM gets tough on insurgents

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Months after promising peace talks with Islamist insurgents, Pakistan’s new prime minister appears to be backing down and accepting that the use of military force may be unavoidable in the face of escalating violence across the South Asian country.

Almost 200 people have been killed in rebel attacks in Pakistan since Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif came to power last month, advocating peace talks with the Pakistani branch of the Taliban.

Jul 18, 2013

New Pakistan government vows to rescue ailing power sector

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan’s new energy minister promised on Thursday to fix the country’s ailing energy sector in three years, laying out an ambitious plan to tackle crippling power shortages that have devastated the economy and sparked violent protests.

Blackouts lasting more than half a day in some areas have infuriated many Pakistanis in this nuclear-armed nation of 180 million people, prompting the new prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, to declare tackling the crisis one of his top priorities.

Jul 18, 2013

Interview: New Pakistan government vows to rescue ailing power sector

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan’s new energy minister promised on Thursday to fix the country’s ailing energy sector in three years, laying out an ambitious plan to tackle crippling power shortages that have devastated the economy and sparked violent protests.

Blackouts lasting more than half a day in some areas have infuriated many Pakistanis in this nuclear-armed nation of 180 million people, prompting the new prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, to declare tackling the crisis one of his top priorities.

Jul 14, 2013

Pakistan Taliban set up camps in Syria, join anti-Assad war

ISLAMABAD/PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) – The Pakistani Taliban have set up camps and sent hundreds of men to Syria to fight alongside rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad, militants said on Sunday, in a strategy aimed at cementing ties with al Qaeda’s central leadership.

More than two years since the start of the anti-Assad rebellion, Syria has become a magnet for foreign Sunni fighters who have flocked to the Middle Eastern nation to join what they see as a holy war against Shi’ite oppressors.

Jul 8, 2013

Bin Laden’s life on the run revealed by Pakistani inquiry

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Osama bin Laden lived in plain sight for almost a decade and was once even pulled over for speeding but not apprehended, thanks to the incompetence of Pakistan’s intelligence and security services, an official report into his killing said on Monday.

The report, leaked to Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera which circulated it late on Monday, offers fascinating details about life on the run for the world’s most wanted man, who, it says, wore a cowboy hat to avoid being spotted from above.

Jul 8, 2013

Osama bin Laden report accuses Pakistan of incompetence

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Osama bin Laden was able to avoid detection and live in plain sight for almost a decade due to the incompetence and negligence of Pakistan’s intelligence and security services, Pakistan’s official report into his killing concluded on Monday.

Following a decade-long hunt, the CIA tracked down the al Qaeda leader in 2011 to a compound within sight of an elite Pakistani military academy in Abbottabad, a city close to the capital Islamabad.

Jun 18, 2013

Putin faces isolation over Syria as G8 ratchets up pressure

ENNISKILLEN, Northern Ireland (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin faced growing isolation on the second day of a G8 summit on Tuesday as world leaders lined up to pressure him into toning down his support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Syria was set to dominate the last day of the meeting in a secluded, heavily guarded golf resort in Northern Ireland, with Putin standing firm on his position that forcing out Assad would be disastrous for Syria and the region.