Members of al-Qaida, the Taliban and militant groups from Afghanistan and Pakistan met up twice late last year in an effort to combine forces against America’s diminished presence in Pakistan—one common target on which they might agree to focus. —KA
The meetings were held in Pakistan’s tribal region in November and December at the request of the Afghan Taliban’s leadership council.
They could indicate the militants are struggling in Afghanistan, or conversely, that they want to make sure they hit US forces hard as the Americans accelerate their withdrawal this year. That could give the Taliban additional leverage in any peace negotiations.
“For God’s sake, forget all your differences and give us fighters to boost the battle against America in Afghanistan,” senior al-Qaeda commander Abu Yahya al-Libi told Pakistani fighters at a meeting on Dec 11, according to a militant who attended.
Pakistani militants have long been split over where they should focus their fighting. The Pakistani Taliban have concentrated on toppling their own government, although they have sent some fighters to Afghanistan. Other Pakistani groups based in the tribal region have almost exclusively directed their attacks against foreign forces in Afghanistan.