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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Are TALEBAN Getting Stronger?

The rise of the TALEBAN is getting real and It's a bit troubling for the Us.The whole war on TERROR was about the TALEBAN and AL-QAEDA. Now the war against TERROR has turn out a failure if the TALEBAN and AL-QAEDA are on the raise again.

Pakistani investigators said on Wednesday they had found leads linking a string of suicide bombings to Taleban militants, as the death toll from a wave of Islamist violence rose to 23.


They said six men arrested in a northwestern town at the weekend told interrogators about a web of militants, connected to a senior Taleban commander, who were plotting suicide and car bomb attacks across the country.

The attacks have highlighted Pakistan’s difficulties as it battles insurgents based in its northwestern tribal regions, who are blamed for launching attacks on NATO forces across the border in Afghanistan.

“During the investigations we have got good clues suggesting the bombings were by militants based in the Waziristan (semi-autonomous) tribal region,” a senior security official told the media on condition of anonymity.

The toll from one of the bombings, in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Saturday, rose to 15 after one of the 30 people injured in the blast died in hospital on Wednesday, police said. The bomber also died.

A suicide attacker also blew himself up outside the Marriott hotel in Islamabad on Friday, killing a guard, while another bomber killed two people at a police checkpost in the northwestern town of Dera Ismail Khan on Monday.

Security sources said the six men, who were arrested in raids in Dera Ismail Khan on Sunday, had given details about a network of insurgents in Waziristan planning bombings in major Pakistani cities.

The men were linked to Baitullah Mahsud, a wanted Taleban commander allegedly in charge of thousands of fighters operating in the South and North Waziristan regions, the officials said.

“They told interrogators that Baitullah was unhappy with (the) army’s killing of tribesmen in the name of action against the Taleban and Al Qaeda and he planned revenge attacks in other Pakistani cities,” an official familiar with the interrogation said".

He said police in Dera Ismail Khan believed the 17-year-old who blew himself up on Monday was from South Waziristan and had contact with the six arrested men.

A police source said they learned about the movements of the bomber in Dera Ismail Khan soon after the arrests but could not locate him.

Interior Ministry spokesman Brigadier Javed Cheema said investigations into the three suicide bombings were “going well, but it will be difficult to share any information at this stage.”

“All we can say is that our investigations are heading in the right direction,” Cheema said.

Pakistani military operations have killed around 1,000 Taleban and Al Qaeda militants who found shelter with fundamentalist tribesmen after fleeing the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. Some 700 soldiers have also died.

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