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Terrorism & Security

Militants attack near Pakistan-Afghanistan border

Despite ongoing violence in the North West Frontier Province, Pakistan's new government vows to continue peace talks with the Taliban.

By Anand Gopal / June 3, 2008



Peace talks between the Pakistani government and insurgents continued this week despite a series of violent attacks. Analysts and government officials say that the violence will not affect Islamabad's resolve to reach negotiated settlements with the rebels.

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Wednesday, militants blew up dozens of video and music stalls near the Afghan border. On Monday, a car bomb killed six people outside the Danish Embassy in the country's capital. Over the past week, the Taliban have attacked a series of checkpoints in tribal areas, and government forces are stepping up security in some cities to prevent the Taliban's intimidation of locals.

The Associated Press reported that Monday's car bomb, which prompted Norway and Sweden to close their embassies, might bear the mark of Al Qaeda.

Danish authorities said the terror network or one of its affiliates was likely behind the explosion, which came just weeks after the terrorist group threatened Denmark over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad reprinted earlier this year in newspapers in that country....
Ben Venzke, CEO of IntelCenter, a U.S. group that monitors al-Qaida messages, said the terror group called for attacks against Danish diplomatic facilities and personnel in a video last August, and repeated its threat in April.
"I urge and incite every Muslim who can harm Denmark to do so in support of the Prophet, God's peace and prayers be upon him, and in defense of his honorable stature," IntelCenter quoted al-Qaida No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri as saying in an April 21 video.

The Pakistan-based Daily Times, a leading English-language daily, writes that the Taliban attacked checkpoints in western Pakistan, and Reuters reports that militants bombed music shops near the Afghan border. Geo TV, a Pakistani broadcast network, reports that Taliban fighters have been intimidating locals in Peshawar, such as owners of movie theaters, prompting increased government security.

The Pakistani Army has fought a series of battles with Islamic militants in Swat since November of last year, reports The Christian Science Monitor. However, despite the recent incidents, government officials insist that peace talks will continue unabated. The Daily Times reports that Monday's blast at the Danish Embassy is not linked to domestic militancy.

Officials said on Tuesday that local Taliban were likely behind the attack on the Danish embassy, which they claimed was linked to the printing of blasphemous caricatures in Danish newspapers and would not impact the new government's talks with local Taliban.
"This attack was not linked to any event in the country or the region, rather it was part of widespread outrage throughout the Islamic world against publishing blasphemous caricatures," a senior official said.
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