Saturday, June 19, 2010

Pakistan, Afghanistan begin talks about dealing with insurgents

By Karin Brulliard and Karen DeYoung
Saturday, June 19, 2010

Afghanistan and Pakistan are talking about how to make peace, there could be a more abrupt withdrawal of U.S. troops than is now anticipated. But one element ofthe effort -- outreach by Pakistan to the militia headed by the young commander Sirajuddin Haqqani -- faces opposition from U.S. officials.

Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the chief of Pakistan's powerful intelligence agency, made an unprecedented trip last month to Kabul. United States, gradually warming to the idea of reconciliation But Obama will not support talks with Haqqani's militia, "we expect to be treated as full partners and not to be surprised."

Haqqani, based in North Waziristan is a top threat. The CIA and U.S. military think that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency retains links. In a recent meeting Petraeus, Mike Mullen and McChrystal presented evidence that attacks on a NATO convoy and the main coalition air base were by Haqqani from Miram Shah.

Karzai's firing of his intelligence chief and interior minister, who were negative on Pakistan, is seen as positive.

U.S. troops focus counterinsurgency efforts on the Taliban's southern hub, Haqqani, who is in his 30s, is expanding the southeastern front through attacks on American forces and through ruthless intimidation of locals, embodies the Taliban's vanguard: younger commanders driven more by anti-Western zeal. suicide bombers come from this class, his is the single largest insurgent force and a bridge between the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Beyond the Haqqani group, Pakistan maintains ties with the dominant Afghan Taliban, headed by Mohammad Omar, and an allied group headed by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar

Karzai have met with Afghan Taliban Quetta Shura. The group founded by his father, Jalaluddin. the organization has swelled in lethality and in size, to as many as 10,000 fighters. Haqqani holds a seat on al-Qaeda's leadership council receives ample funding from Arab backers, it include foreign fighters drawn frommadrassas, they rely on assassinations, shakedowns and kidnappings-for-ransom little interest in politics

DeYoung reported from Washington. Staff writer Joby Warrick and special correspondents Shaiq Hussain and Haq Nawaz Khan contributed to this report.

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