Peace in Pakistan equals war in Afghanistan?

Truce talks between Pakistan’s government and tribal militants may be causing a rise in terror attacks in Afghanistan, NATO spokesman James Appathurai told reporters in Brussels. “The concern is that deals being struck between the Pakistani government and extremist groups in the tribal areas may be allowing them, the extremists, to have safe havens, rest, reconstitute and then move across the border,” he said.

The level of extremist violence in eastern Afghanistan last month was 50% higher than the same period last year and approached the peak seen during fighting in August 2007, according to Appathurai. (Bloomberg, May 15 via Afghan News Network)

His comments came a day after a suicide bomber apparently wearing a burqa blew up in a busy bazaar in Delaram, Farah province, killing 16 and wounding 22. The Taliban insurgents immediately claimed responsibility, through a spokesman named as Yousuf Ahmadi. Police were apparently the target, but only four of the dead were police officers. Provincial authorities said women and children were among the victims.

More than 70 people have been killed in six suicide attacks since early April, according to an AFP tally. The Taliban claimed responsibility for most the attacks.

The insurgency is mainly focused in the southeast, along the border with Pakistan. But Farah and neighboring Nimroz province, both bordering Iran, have seen a recent spike in attacks over the past two years. Seven Taliban were killed in battles with Afghan troops in Nimroz May 14. (AFP, May 15)

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