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Rivalry between Pakistani Taliban factions erupts in violence

By Jibran Ahmad and Katharine Houreld PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - A struggle for power between Pakistani Taliban commanders divided over whether to talk to the government has erupted in violence with dozens of fighters killed along the Afghan border over recent weeks, Pakistani security officials said. It is unclear if the fighting will weaken an insurgency aimed at bringing down the nuclear-armed Pakistani state but the security agencies will be hoping to turn the bloodshed to their advantage.

Afghan commander: cross-border Taliban alliance growing stronger

By Maria Golovnina CAMP THUNDER, Afghanistan (Reuters) - Taliban militants in Pakistan have established an increasingly close relationship with insurgents from across the border in Afghanistan, supplying them with explosives and well-trained fighters, a senior Afghan army commander said on Wednesday.

Pakistan train bombing kills 13

A bomb blast on a train in Pakistan's restive southwestern province of Baluchistan killed at least 13 people and injured 40 others on Tuesday, officials said, with the death toll feared to rise. The United Baluch Army (UBA), one of several armed separatist groups in Baluchistan, claimed responsibility for the bombing, with its spokesman warning of more such attacks in the coming days in response to a major military operation against militants that began on Monday.

Pakistan gov't, Taliban open peace talks in tribal region

Representatives of the Pakistani government and the Pakistani Taliban on Wednesday opened direct peace talks at an undisclosed place in North Waziristan bordering Afghanistan, official and militant sources said. Although both sides have vowed to keep secret the venue of the talks, a source close to the militants said the talks were held at Shawal in North Waziristan. Sources close to the two sides said that extending a cease-fire due to expire Sunday and its breach by renegade militant groups would be at the top of the agenda.

Pakistani Hindus urge authorities to save temple

Hindus in Pakistan's commercial hub Karachi on Monday urged authorities to halt construction work on an underpass, which they say endangers a 150-year-old temple. The minority community said vibrations from excavation work on a road being built just metres away from the Ratneshwar Mahadev Temple could cause irreparable damage to the building's structure. Pakistan's Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani on Monday ordered local authorities to provide an impact report within two weeks, but a Hindu community leader said that may be too late to save the temple.

Misery mounts in drought-hit southeast Pakistan

Two-month-old Mangal succumbed to pneumonia on Tuesday in Mithi, southeast Pakistan, the latest victim of a deadly web of drought, disease and malnutrition in one of the country's most deprived regions. Her father Buru had held a plastic tube supplying oxygen into her tiny nostrils all night, but his silent prayers were not enough. She died in a government hospital in Mithi, the main town of Tharparkar district, becoming one of at least 67 children to die of poverty-driven disease in the area since December.

Probe after 41 children die in Pakistan desert community

Authorities in southern Pakistan on Friday ordered a probe into the death of 41 children who reportedly died of pneumonia and malnutrition in a stretch of the Thar desert. Officials were alarmed by media reports from Mithi, one of the least developed and most remote districts in southern Sindh province, suggesting that more than 100 people had died because of famine and malnutrition. "It is a very serious matter and we have deputed a senior member of the party and officials to probe into the deaths," Syed Qaim Ali Shah, the chief minister of Sindh, told reporters.

Pakistan to resume Taliban peace talks

Negotiators for the Pakistani government and the country's main Taliban faction are to meet Wednesday to restart peace talks that stalled more than a fortnight ago, sources said. The meeting in the northwestern town of Akora Khattak comes after the Taliban announced a month-long ceasefire at the weekend, despite a major attack in Islamabad on Monday claimed by a splinter group that killed 11 people.

Bomb kills three soldiers in NW Pakistan

A roadside bomb on Wednesday killed three soldiers in Pakistan's troubled northwest, officials said, the latest violence to hit the country since a ceasefire between the government and Taliban insurgents began. The remote-controlled device hit a convoy of the paramilitary Frontier Corps as it was moving from the town of Hangu to Kurram district, one of seven tribal areas along the Afghan border where militants have strongholds. A security official in Peshawar, the main city in the northwest, told AFP the blast killed three soldiers and wounded 11.

Swat's silk industry killed by Pakistan Taliban militancy

Five years after it collapsed under Taliban rule, the once-thriving silk industry in the Swat valley of northwest Pakistan is still in shreds, leaving thousands without work and entrepreneurs like Shaukat Ali counting the cost. Ali's family moved from the eastern city of Lahore to Swat in the late 1960s as they looked to capitalise on what was then a booming silk trade in the valley known as "Pakistan's Switzerland", renowned for its lush green mountains, waterfalls and streams.
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