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March 18, 2011 | By Alex Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times
Pakistan's army chief strongly condemned a U.S. drone missile strike that killed at least 40 people in a volatile tribal region along the Afghan border Thursday, asserting that the dead included innocent tribal elders who had been holding a meeting. If Gen. Ashfaq Kayani's accusation is valid, it could undermine Pakistani cooperation on Washington's drone campaign against Al Qaeda and Taliban militants in the largely lawless tribal badlands in the country's northwest. The Obama administration relies heavily on drone missile strikes to hamper Al Qaeda and its militant allies' ability to plan terrorist attacks and train recruits.
January 2, 2011 | By Zulfiqar Ali and Laura King, Los Angeles Times
A series of missile strikes killed at least 19 suspected insurgents Saturday in Pakistan's tribal borderlands, signaling that the new year would bring no respite in a relentless campaign of U.S. attacks employing aerial drones to target militant figures. The strikes in the North Waziristan tribal agency were apparently aimed at the Haqqani network, an offshoot of the Taliban movement and one of the deadliest foes of U.S. and other Western forces in Afghanistan. The group's fighters operate mainly in the eastern part of Afghanistan but seek shelter in neighboring Pakistan.
November 28, 2010 | By Alex Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times
After a year spent without work and queuing for handouts, families who sought refuge here from an offensive against the Pakistani Taliban are eager to see their homes and farms again. But they doubt they'll be able to sleep peacefully when they get there. Officials say the high-profile offensive they launched last fall in South Waziristan near the Afghan border has secured the area, and they are planning to start sending 400,000 displaced people back early next month. However, evidence from South Waziristan and other areas where the military has gone after the Taliban suggest that relatively few militants were killed and the rest didn't go very far, an illustration of how difficult it is for Pakistan to defeat a force that has bloodied its cities and targeted Americans.
November 7, 2010 | By Alex Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times
A militant network that is a major Western adversary in Afghanistan is expanding its reach into tribal badlands outside its longtime sanctuary in Pakistan, a move that could complicate U.S. efforts to eradicate the group. Pakistani tribal elders in the Kurram region along the Afghan border say large numbers of fighters from the Haqqani network, an ally of Al Qaeda, have been stationing themselves in the highlands of their rugged district and are demanding the freedom to move in and out of Afghanistan at will to carry out attacks in the neighboring country.
October 5, 2010 | By Alex Rodriguez and Zulfiqar Ali, Los Angeles Times
Missiles fired from a CIA-operated drone killed German militants hiding out in Pakistan's volatile tribal belt along the Afghan border late Monday, the latest in a surge of drone strikes believed to be fueled in part by concerns that Al Qaeda was planning a terrorist attack somewhere in Europe. There were conflicting reports on the number of German extremists. One Pakistani intelligence source said two of nine militants killed in the drone attack were German and the rest were from Central Asia.
May 24, 2010 | By Alex Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times
A couple of decades ago, Hamid Gul could trek into militant camps in North Waziristan like an old friend stopping by for dinner. Back then, he was Pakistan's intelligence chief, and his hosts valued him as their benefactor in the struggle against Soviet troops in Afghanistan. "I used to travel there frequently," Gul says. "Everything was hunky-dory." The neighborhood has changed, and the friendships too. Islamic militant camps still dot the region's rugged mountainsides and basins, but these days they shelter and train a caldron of disparate exremist groups with varying roots and an evolving network of allegiances.
May 5, 2010 | By Tina Susman and Richard A. Serrano, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
A Pakistani American charged with plotting to detonate a car bomb in Times Square received explosives training in Pakistan's volatile Waziristan region, a Taliban stronghold, and admitted driving an SUV from his Connecticut home to Manhattan in hopes of blowing it up on a crowded corner, according to a complaint unsealed Tuesday. Additional arrests in the case were reported in Pakistan, which according to the five-count complaint was where Faisal Shahzad, 31, began preparing for the attack as long ago as December.
May 2, 2010 | By Alex Rodriguez and David Zucchino, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
Reporting from Kundian, Pakistan, and Bagram, -- Their whir is unmistakable, a buzzing hum that prompts the tribespeople of Waziristan to refer to the fleet of armed U.S. drone aircraft hovering overhead as machay, or wasps. The Khan family never heard it. They had been sleeping for an hour when a Hellfire missile pierced their mud hut on an August night in 2008. Black smoke and dust choked villagers as they dug through the rubble. Four-year-old Zeerak's legs were severed.
December 28, 2009 | By Alex Rodriguez
As Pakistan forges ahead with its bid to uproot Taliban fighters from tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan, its troops are bypassing an enemy that the Obama administration desperately wants confronted. Rather than expand on its gains in South Waziristan and drive into North Waziristan to tackle the Haqqani network -- a wing of the Taliban that views U.S. and NATO-led troops in Afghanistan as its principal target -- the Pakistani military is now focusing its attention on driving Taliban militants from their strongholds in the surrounding tribal regions of Kurram, Orakzai and Khyber.
November 26, 2009 | By Alex Rodriguez
Since the Pakistani army launched a long-awaited offensive last month to destroy the Taliban in South Waziristan, many militants have fled to nearby districts and begun to establish new strongholds, a strategy that suggests they will regroup and remain a potent threat to the country's weak, U.S.-backed government. Pakistani Taliban militants have escaped primarily to Kurram and Orakzai, districts outside the battle zone but still within Pakistan's largely ungoverned tribal areas along the Afghan border, villagers there say. The military lacks a significant presence in much of these areas, making them an ideal environment for the Islamic militants to regroup.
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