Related Newswires Articles on Afghanistan from ABC News


Related Newswires Articles on Afghanistan from ABC News:

Bombing Shows Pakistan Militant Groups Uniting

When a car bomb blew up in Lahore today 200 miles north of here, it destroyed an intelligence agency’s interrogation room where agents were interviewing suspects from a militant organization based near this dusty city in southern Punjab, according to an intelligence official and a friend of one of the agents.

But the Punjabi militant group, known as Lashkar-e-Jungvi, didn’t take responsibility for the attack, which killed 30 people and wounded 250 more. Instead, the Taliban, which is based near the Afghan border, claimed responsibility.

This was just the latest sign that diverse militant groups from across the country are uniting, just as Pakistan has started to shows signs it is cracking down on the very terrorists it once helped create — and now admits threaten the very future of the state.

Taliban Pleads With Swat Civilians
from ABC News |By NAHAL TOOSI Associated Press Writer

The Taliban on Monday urged civilians to return to the Swat Valley’s main city, promising they would not attack security forces battling for control out of concern for the safety of trapped residents.

Pakistan’s military dismissed the gesture as a ploy that would allow the militants to blend in with the residents of Mingora, and said it had no intention of halting its offensive in the valley.

More than 2 million civilians have fled Swat and nearby districts, making it easier for the army to single out insurgents, but returning civilians could further complicate the battle

The appeal also appeared designed to play off the growing public concern for thousands still stuck in Mingora amid shortages of food and water.

Accompanying Video:

Pakistan – New Strategy for Prosperity and Stability

Pakistan lies at the nexus of one the world’s most complicated geopolitical regions— one plagued by poverty, nuclear proliferation, and global terrorism. With a growing population of more than 165 million people, Pakistan is a vital link between South and Central Asia and the broader Middle East. Pakistan’s multiple internal challenges extend beyond its borders and have a wide-ranging impact on regional and global stability. Just as conditions in Afghanistan, India, Iran, and Central Asian countries affect Pakistan, events in Pakistan shape its neighbors.

There are positive signs and opportunities for Pakistan’s democracy and, ultimately, stability. In February 2008, a democratic transition occurred in Pakistan, ushering in a civilian government and leading to the resignation of military strongman Pervez Musharraf from the presidency. Despite a history of interference in the political process, the Pakistani military has intentionally provided space to Pakistani’s civilian leaders to find their footing since the election.

Pakistan will pose one of the greatest foreign policy challenges for the incoming Obama administration. How Pakistan addresses its militancy, weak governance, and economic dif- ficulties will directly influence the security of the United States and its people. The Obama administration must seize these opportunities and work with Pakistan, its friends, and neighbors to create a new strategy for enhancing security in Pakistan. But first U.S. policymakers must understand the key challenges facing Pakistan and the region, as well as the critical opportunities the Obama administration can leverage over the next four years.

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