Pak Army strikes deal with anti-US Taliban militants in Waziristan

      The United States may have been very proactive about the Waziristan offensive, but the Pakistani military seems to be defying Washington by striking a deal with two anti-US Taliban militants, who have been involved in attacking NATO forces stationed in Afghanistan. The deal, under which Pakistani forces have agreed not to attack areas controlled by Taliban renegades Maulvi Nazir and Hafiz Gul Bahadur, is set make the offensive less effective than the U.S. had hoped for, The News reports. According to the deal, both the Taliban chiefs will give the military additional fronts from which to attack the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, while the army will ease patrols and bombings in the lands controlled by them. The "understanding" underscores Pakistan's past practice of targeting only militant groups that attack the government or its forces inside Pakistan, and not acting against those who have been attacking American troops. According to western officials, South Waziristan is also a major sanctuary and training ground for al-Qaida operatives, including the world's most wanted terrorist, Osama bin Laden. US State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said he was unaware of any such deal, but other U.S. officials said the strategy was not surprising. "We have a shared goal here, and the shared goal is fighting violent extremism," Kelly said.

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