WHO ARE THE PAKISTANI TALIBAN?
The militants are mostly ethnic Pashtuns from the semi-autonomous tribal belt along the Afghan border where Pakistan and the United States poured in weapons in the 1980s to support Islamist fighters, including bin Laden, battling Soviet forces in Afghanistan.
There are different Taliban factions in places such as North and South Waziristan, Bajaur and Mohmand, united under the Pakistani Taliban banner. They have links with the Afghan Taliban, most of whom are fellow Pashtuns although the Afghan militants do not attack in Pakistan.
The Pakistani Taliban have strong links with al Qaeda and militant factions from other parts of Pakistan, in particular Punjab province. Pakistani Taliban have been providing training and other support to outside militants, including Westerners, in their strongholds.
WHAT ARE THEY FIGHTING FOR?
They are vehemently opposed to Pakistan’s alliance with the United States in the campaign against militancy launched after the September 11, 2001, attacks. As Pakistan, under U.S. pressure, stepped up operations against militants on the Afghan border, Pakistani Taliban attacks on the security forces picked up.
They launched their war against Pakistan in earnest after security forces cleared gunmen from a radical mosque in the capital, Islamabad, in July 2007 with the loss of about 100 lives.
read the rest via:reuters
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