Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Pakistan Weighs Strike Against Taliban Over Airport Attack

Premier, Military Command to Meet in Wake of Assault That Left at Least 28 Dead

By Saeed Shah, WSJ
Updated June 9, 2014 7:21 p.m. ET

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—The Pakistani Taliban's deadly attack on a Karachi airport appears to have ended hopes for a peace deal, pushing the government closer to an army operation against the militant group's strongholds, officials and analysts said on Monday.

The group known formally as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for Sunday's assault, which left 28 people dead. The TTP said the attack was in response to the Pakistani military's recent airstrikes in the country's North Waziristan region. "The government should be ready for more attacks like this," said Shahidullah Shahid, a TTP spokesman.

Washington and Kabul have long urged Pakistan to clear out North Waziristan, the area on the Afghan border that serves as a sanctuary for Afghan insurgents and al Qaeda in addition to the Pakistani Taliban.

"The answer to these [militants] lies with the Pakistan army," said Khawaja Saad Rafique, an influential cabinet minister, hours after troops secured Jinnah International Airport, Pakistan's busiest.

A meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who had pursued peace talks with the Taliban since last year, and the military's top command is set to take place in the next few days, officials said, adding that an offensive in North Waziristan, where many Pakistani Taliban leaders are based, will be the main item on the agenda.

(More here.)

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