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Oct 24, 2012

Pakistan’s threat within: the Sunni-Shia divide

GILGIT, Pakistan, Oct 24 (Reuters) – About 20 men dressed as
Pakistani soldiers boarded a bus bound for a Muslim festival
outside this mountain town and checked the identification cards
of the passengers. They singled out 19 Shi’ites, drew weapons
and slaughtered them, most with a bullet to the head.

The shooters weren’t soldiers. They were a hit squad linked
to the Sunni Muslim extremist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, or LeJ.
They had trekked in along a high Himalayan pass that hot August
morning to waylay a convoy of pilgrims.

Oct 24, 2012

Special Report: Pakistan’s threat within – the Sunni-Shia divide

GILGIT, Pakistan (Reuters) – About 20 men dressed as Pakistani soldiers boarded a bus bound for a Muslim festival outside this mountain town and checked the identification cards of the passengers. They singled out 19 Shi’ites, drew weapons and slaughtered them, most with a bullet to the head.

The shooters weren’t soldiers. They were a hit squad linked to the Sunni Muslim extremist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, or LeJ. They had trekked in along a high Himalayan pass that hot August morning to waylay a convoy of pilgrims.

Jul 5, 2012

Long road ahead in U.S.-Pakistan ties after NATO deal

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan and the United States are set to resume broader talks on security cooperation, militant threats, aid and other issues in the wake of an agreement to reopen supply routes into Afghanistan, Pakistan’s envoy to Washington said on Thursday.

But bridging underlying differences that strained U.S.-Pakistani ties close to the breaking point will be daunting as the allies remain at odds over how to handle the twin threats of the Taliban in Afghanistan and militants in Pakistani tribal areas.

Jul 2, 2012

U.S., Pakistan deal seen soon on Afghan supply routes

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – The United States and Pakistan are expected to agree soon on the reopening of land routes crucial to supplying NATO troops in Afghanistan, a Pakistani official said on Monday, a move that could ease a seven-month crisis in the two countries’ ties.

A senior Pakistani security official told Reuters a deal could be announced soon, potentially ending the long stalemate following a U.S. air attack last November that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers along the border with Afghanistan.

Jun 28, 2012

Pakistan’s Fazlullah re-emerges as a security threat

ISLAMABAD/PESHAWAR (Reuters) – Shortly after sneaking across the Afghan border this week, more than 100 militants loyal to Pakistani Taliban leader Fazlullah waited patiently on a mountain for Pakistani troops to approach.

Several days later, the fighters released a video of what they said were the heads of 17 ambushed soldiers, along with their identification cards.

Jun 25, 2012

Pakistan’s Dr Afridi, from CIA asset to solitary cell

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) – There can be few jail cells in Pakistan as lonely as the one occupied by Shakil Afridi, the doctor who helped the CIA hunt down Osama bin Laden.

He is kept in solitary confinement to protect him from hundreds of convicted militants eager to avenge their hero’s death. He may not be safe even from the guards – only two trusted officials are allowed to see him.

Jun 24, 2012

Insight: Pakistan’s Dr Afridi, from CIA asset to solitary cell

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) – There can be few jail cells in Pakistan as lonely as the one occupied by Shakil Afridi, the doctor who helped the CIA hunt down Osama bin Laden.

He is kept in solitary confinement to protect him from hundreds of convicted militants eager to avenge their hero’s death. He may not be safe even from the guards – only two trusted officials are allowed to see him.

Jun 12, 2012

Pakistan should “bite the bullet” in NATO routes row: U.S. official

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan’s civilian government should “bite the bullet” and re-open supply routes to NATO forces in Afghanistan in order to ease tensions with the United States, a senior U.S. government official said on Tuesday.

The United States said on Monday it was withdrawing its team of negotiators from Pakistan without securing a long-sought deal on supply routes for the war in neighboring Afghanistan, publicly exposing a diplomatic stalemate and deeply strained relations that appear at risk of deteriorating further.

Jun 10, 2012

Al Qaeda down, but not out in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD/DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (Reuters) – When al Qaeda leader Abu Yahya al-Libi arrived in northwest Pakistan several years ago, he commanded so much respect that even some of the world’s most dangerous militants held him in awe.

Already a legend in the shadowy world of jihad for breaking out of a high security U.S. prison in neighbouring Afghanistan in 2005, he seemed to promise endless funds, training and inspiration for men who dreamed of unleashing carnage in New York or London.

Jun 10, 2012

Analysis: Al Qaeda down, but not out in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD/DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (Reuters) – When al Qaeda leader Abu Yahya al-Libi arrived in northwest Pakistan several years ago, he commanded so much respect that even some of the world’s most dangerous militants held him in awe.

Already a legend in the shadowy world of jihad for breaking out of a high security U.S. prison in neighboring Afghanistan in 2005, he seemed to promise endless funds, training and inspiration for men who dreamed of unleashing carnage in New York or London.