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Taliban step up attacks in South Waziristan
"The Taliban have stepped up attacks on the Pakistani Army in South Waziristan as the group's leader vowed to continue fighting the Pakistani government.
The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan has killed eight Pakistani Army soldiers and captured one more in two separate strikes over the past week. Other small-scale attacks have been reported in the tribal agency.
Five Pakistani soldiers were killed in the first attack, on Oct. 15, when Taliban fighters launched attacks on the Talab checkpoint in the Sararogha area of South Waziristan. One soldier, who was first reported as missing, was captured by the Taliban.
Three more Pakistani soldiers were killed and two more were wounded in the second Taliban attack in the Kalundar Keley on Oct. 19, when the Taliban ambushed an Army patrol. Two other soldiers were wounded in a separate roadside bomb attack in the same area.
The recent attacks that killed the Pakistani soldiers took place just two weeks after Waliur Rahman Mehsud, the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan's commander in South Waziristan, vowed to continue the fight in the tribal agency.
In an interview with Reuters, Waliur Rahman said he commands more than 2,500 Taliban fighters in South Waziristan, and estimated that the overall Taliban movement has 18,000 fighters throughout the tribal areas. He also accused the Pakistani Army of waging a war for the US and abandoning the fight against India in the disputed Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.
“We are sure, God willing, we would defeat the Pakistani army one day," Waliur Rahman said. "They have imposed an American war on us. Instead of conquering Kashmir, they are trying to conquer us.”
Waliur Rahman also expressed the Pakistani Taliban's support for al Qaeda and said his group was involved in the global jihad against the West.
Waliur Rahman granted the interview from North Waziristan, the neighboring Taliban-controlled tribal agency that is home to multiple Pakistani and Central Asian terror groups. The movement of the Taliban's leadership, including Hakeemullah Mehsud, the group's top leader, and Qari Hussain Mehsud, the senior military commander, and much of its fighters fled South Waziristan after the Pakistani Army invaded the Mehsud tribal areas in South Waziristan.
The bulk of the Taliban's forces were withdrawn and sheltered in North Waziristan, the Wazir areas of South Waziristan, and the tribal agencies of Khyber, Orakzai, and Kurram. A small Taliban force, backed primarily by fanatical fighters from the al Qaeda-linked Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, fought a rearguard action against the Pakistani Army in an effort to slow its advance and bleed the force.
The Pakistani military has claimed success in the South Waziristan, but a recent US government report which was leaked to the Wall Street Journal, issued a scathing critique of the operation. The report said the Pakistani military has been unable to capitalize on the initial limited success of the operation, and that its forces have since "stayed close to the roads and did not engage against those [Pakistani Taliban] militants who returned after fleeing into North Waziristan." [See LWJ report, Taliban escape South Waziristan operation, from Nov. 26, 2009, for an assessment on the Pakistani Army's efforts.]
Despite the operation in the Mehsud tribal areas, the Taliban remain in control of much of the tribal agency. Also, the military refused to go after the Taliban in Mullah Nazir's tribal areas. Instead, the military cut a peace deal with Nazir, who has since broken the agreement by sheltering Qaliur Rahman's forces as well as al Qaeda and other terror groups. Nazir has openly stated he supports Osamabin Laden and Mullah Omar, yet the Pakistani establishment considers him one of the so-called "good Taliban" as he does not advocate attacks against the Pakistani state"
Iran says it has higher amount of enriched uranium
"Iran is reporting a steady increase in the country's stockpile of enriched uranium, in the latest defiance of U.N. demands for a halt in the controversial nuclear program.
Nuclear chief Vice President Ali Akbar Salehi says Iran now has 30 kilograms, which is about 66 pounds, of uranium that has been enriched to 20 percent.
That's a fifth more that the country had previously."
Pakistan's largest city goes dark after spate of politically motivated violence
"Streets, shopping malls and schools shut down Wednesday in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city and financial hub, after more than 60 people were killed over the past several days in violence attributed to political rivalries.
President Asif Ali Zardari summoned Interior Minister Rehman Malik and other top officials to determine how to stem the attacks, which have terrified residents of the city of 18 million over the past week. Although they ruled out military action, officials were mulling a curfew in the most dangerous neighborhoods, according to televised reports.
The outbreak of violence, which has included targeted killings apparently meant to intimidate entire communities, has been linked to a special election last Sunday to replace Raza Haider, a provincial assembly member from the Muttahida Quami Movement who was gunned down in August. Police have blamed a rivalry between that party and the Awami National Party for the assassinations.
In addition to political killings, Karachi has been plagued by ongoing violence pegged to tribal sectarian rivalries and to Islamic extremists operating in a city that is a key business hub and supply line for NATO's war in Afghanistan. Before the latest attacks, more than 300 targeted killings were reported in the city this year."
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