Militant Groups Seen Collaborating Against U.S. If militant Islamist groups in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region work together to target U.S. forces in Afghanistan, they should be capable of more deadly attacks. But having a "single enemy" could have the positive result of forcing Pakistan to alter its policy of accommodating the Afghan Taliban.
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Militant Groups Seen Collaborating Against U.S.

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Militant Groups Seen Collaborating Against U.S.

Militant Groups Seen Collaborating Against U.S.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

The attack raised questions about the loyalty of some spies working for the U.S. And it was troubling in another way. U.S. officials say it showed the different militant groups in the region are increasingly working together to target U.S. forces. NPR's Tom Gjelten reports.

TOM GJELTEN, Host:

An answer came about two weeks later. Turned out that the suicide bomber just before carrying out the attack made a video in which he explained what he was about to do.

HAMMAM AL: This (unintelligible) attack will be the first of the revenge operations against the Americans and their drone teams.

GJELTEN: Christine Fair of Georgetown University and other Pakistan experts took note.

CHRISTINE FAIR: If it was the Pakistan Taliban that did it, this would be the first significant operation of any consequence that they executed outside of Pakistan's territory.

GJELTEN: And if Balawi was to be believed, there would be more. Listen to his final words on that scratchy video.

BALAWI: Against the Americans and their drone teams outside the Pakistani borders.

GJELTEN: U.S. officials have concluded that the various militant groups along Afghan- Pakistan border are now working together. Listen to this statement from Siraj Haqqani, an especially hard-line leader of the Afghan Taliban. He recently appeared on Al Jazeera television, with English translation, trumpeting what he called the increased coordination of the mujahideen.

SIRAJ HAQQANI: Thank God the mujahideen are getting more advanced. At the beginning of this war, the coordination between our fighters was useless. But now there are so many attacks that even we can't count them ourselves.

GJELTEN: Andrew Exum is a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.

ANDREW EXUM: What we may have to come to realize is that the distinction between the two insurgent groups and the distinction between these insurgent groups and al-Qaida is much more flexible than perhaps we've described them from here in Washington.

GJELTEN: If all the militant groups in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region are working together, they should be capable of more deadly attacks. But this trend could also present Pakistani authorities with a new challenge. They have tried to divide the Pakistan and Afghan Taliban, targeting the Pakistan branch while accommodating the Afghan branch. But if those groups are now coming together, the Pakistani approach may have to change. Andrew Exum...

EXUM: If the Pakistanis start to see no difference between the Afghan insurgent groups and those insurgent groups which threaten the Pakistani state, that could be a positive thing.

GJELTEN: Tom Gjelten, NPR News, Washington.

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