RealNews

Fundamentalism encouraged in tribes

In its drive to clear remote border regions of Islamic militants, the Pakistani army is fighting more than suspected al-Qaeda warriors. It also is battling the legacy of its own foreign and domestic policies. A decades-long official strategy of benign neglect has molded the semiautonomous tribal areas into hospitable terrain for Islamic militants. Starved of education and employment opportunities, people on the harsh border with Afghanistan have embraced fundamentalist theology and all who uphold it. The Pakistani army said last week it had surrounded up to 500 Islamic militants, including some from Chechnya, Uzbekistan and China, in a tribal pocket near the Afghan border. Monday, fighting between more than 5,000 soldiers and the remaining militants eased as tribal elders tried to broker a truce. Full Story

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