Pakistani insurgents join forces on Afghan border (The Globe and Mail/Canada)

Militant groups in Pakistan’s wild northwest region have come together in a single organization for the first time, threatening to step up operations against the Pakistan army and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

The insurgents have named Baitullah Mehsud, a tribal chief from the Waziristan area, which borders Afghanistan, as their chief, or Emir.

Mr. Mehsud, a charismatic figure in his early 30s with a fearsome reputation, took more than 200 Pakistani soldiers prisoner this year. They were only let go after authorities agreed to release some Taliban prisoners. He is also blamed for organizing a series of suicide-bomb attacks.

The Tehrik Taliban-i-Pakistan was launched after a meeting of 40 Taliban leaders in Waziristan. They came not only from the semi-autonomous tribal belt, known as the Federally Administered Tribal Area, which runs along the Afghan border, but from several "settled" areas of Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province, including Swat, Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan….

"The sole objective of the meeting was to unite the Taliban against NATO forces in Afghanistan and to wage a defensive jihad against Pakistani forces here," said Mr. Mehsud’s spokesman, Maulvi Omar.

The news is especially troubling for Canadian troops, who are fighting nearby in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province…

Pakistani insurgents join forces on Afghan border (The Globe and Mail/Canada)

The Troubled Afghan-Pakistani Border (Jayshree Bajoria in Council on Foreign Relations)


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