RealNews

Anti-Terror Efforts Put Vise on Afghan Region

Six months ago, this remote and drought-starved region near the Pakistani border was gradually falling under the control of Islamic militias. Local officials had been assassinated, foreign aid workers had pulled out and tribes in the badlands on both sides of the border were giving haven to Taliban and al Qaeda forces. Now, as U.S. military officials launch a major anti-terrorist operation called Mountain Storm across southeastern Afghanistan, Paktika province is becoming a focus of intense attention from American and Afghan authorities as they try to purge the area of violent, extremist influence. At the same time, thousands of Pakistani troops are sweeping through the semi-autonomous tribal areas that hug their side of the 1,200-mile frontier. So far, the signs of change in Paktika are scattered or subtle. Orgun is a bustling market town, a nexus of traffic with tribal Pakistan and host to a U.S. Special Forces base. Residents say that whatever happens next may exacerbate tensions with their Pakistani neighbors, necessitate greater displays of loyalty to the government and its U.S. backers and possibly squeeze them in a military pincers. Full Story

OODA Analyst

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