Flag of Pakistan
  1. Pakistan Main Page
  2. The New Republic
  3. A Shaky Government
  4. President Musharraf Extends Power
  5. A Relationship with the Taliban
  6. Musharraf's Political Troubles
  7. The Return of Benazir Bhutto
  8. Bhutto's Assassination and Successor
  9. Fighting Breaks Out in Kashmir
  10. A New President and U.S. Involvement
  11. Government Assaults on Taliban Meet Strong Resistance
  12. Floods Ravage the Country
  13. Osama bin Laden Is Killed; Ties with U.S. Further Strained
  14. Pakistan Faces Internal Strife
  15. Nawaz Sharif Returns to Post as Prime Minister in Historic Election
  16. Taliban Leader Killed in a Drone Strike; Pakistan Launches Offensive Against Militants
  17. Taliban Attack on an Army-Run School Kills Dozens
A Relationship with the Taliban

Pakistan has launched major efforts to combat al-Qaeda and Taliban militants, deploying 80,000 troops to its remote and mountainous border with Afghanistan, a haven for terrorist groups. More than 800 soldiers have died in these campaigns. Yet the country remains a breeding ground for Islamic militancy, with its estimated 10,000–40,000 religious schools, or madrassas. In late 2006 and into 2007, members of the Taliban crossed into eastern Afghanistan from Pakistan's tribal areas. The Pakistani government denied that its intelligence agency has supported the Islamic militants, despite contradictory reports from Western diplomats and the media.

In Sept. 2006, President Musharraf signed a controversial peace agreement with seven militant groups, who call themselves the “Pakistan Taliban.” Pakistan's army agreed to withdraw from the area and allow the Taliban to govern themselves, as long as they promise no incursions into Afghanistan or against Pakistani troops. Critics said the deal hands terrorists a secure base of operations; supporters counter that a military solution against the Taliban is futile and will only spawn more militants, contending that containment is the only practical policy. That agreement came under fire in the U.S. in July 2007 with the release of a National Intelligence Estimate. The report concluded that al-Qaeda has gained strength in the past two years and that the United States faces "a persistent and evolving terrorist threat over the next three years." The report also said the deal has allowed al-Qaeda to flourish.

An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.6 struck Pakistani-controlled Kashmir on Oct. 8, 2005. More than 81,000 people were killed and 3 million left homeless. About half of the region’s capital city, Muzaffarabad, was destroyed. The disaster hit at the onset of the Himalayan winter. Many rural villages were too remote for aid workers to reach, leaving thousands vulnerable to the elements.

Next: Musharraf's Political Troubles
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