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Pro-Taliban Militants End Peace Deal With Pakistani Government

Army forces on patrol in northwestern Pakistan (epa) July 15, 2007 -- Pro-Taliban militants in Pakistan's restive North Waziristan tribal region say they are pulling out of a noninterference deal with the government that gave them wide latitude in exchange for security assurances.

The militants accuse Islamabad of violating the agreement by deploying more troops in the region.

The agreement drew intense scrutiny as critics and backers followed its course in hopes of learning lessons for how to combat lawlessness and militancy in areas where central governments have trouble establishing control.

The agreement was reached between the pro-Taliban militant leader and the government in Islamabad in September 2006.

The militants' leadership council, or shura, made the announcement in a statement issued today in Miran Shah, the capital of North Waziristan.

The accord called for local residents to not give shelter to foreign militants and end cross-border attacks on coalition forces deployed in Afghanistan. It also urged militants to stop targeting Pakistani officials, as well as pro-government tribal elders, and journalists.

In return, Islamabad pledged to reduce the number of government troops stationed in the area and end ground and aerial operations in North Waziristan.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has recently announced his commitment to eliminating "terrorism and extremism" all parts of the country, even as political tensions mounted.

Meanwhile, Islamic radicals and international terrorists urged sympathizers to fight the Pakistani government in the wake of the seige at the Red Mosque in Islamabad.

Afghan-Pakistani Border

Afghan-Pakistani Border
EYE OF A STORM: Afghan officials first suggested that insurgents or terrorists were crossing the border from Pakistan in 2003. Relations have run hot and cold ever since. But the roots of the problem go back much further.

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