Despite Critics, Pakistan May Expand Tribal Deal

More than a month has elapsed since Pakistan made a controversial peace deal with tribal leaders in North Waziristan, along the border with Afghanistan. The agreement has been criticized for allegedly allowing al-Qaida and the Taliban to regroup in the border mountains — and increase their cross border attacks on U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Since the deal was made, claims have surfaced that Pakistan's intelligence services are supporting the Taliban. The Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, General James Jones, recently told the U.S. Senate's foreign relations committee that it is "generally accepted" that the Taliban is headquartered in or around the Pakistani city of Quetta. Pakistan denies this.

But Pakistani officials say they will maintain the agreement. They say U.S. and NATO alliance members were "on side" when it was made. Now, it looks as if it's going to be widened to cover more of the tribes along the mountainous borderlands.

Al-Qaida and Taliban took refuge on these areas after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 — and so, some believe, did Osama bin Laden.

A senior official has told NPR that the Musharraf government's planning to expand it, to cover South Waziristan.



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