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…