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Q: So, I hear there’s the Pakistani Taliban and the Afghan Taliban. Really? There’s a difference? What’s up with that?

A: Indeed, there are differences in the groups, even though the Afghan Taliban was heavily supported by Pakistan’s intelligence services. The Pakistani Taliban was just banned by that country’s government at the end of August.

According to sources that include The Associated Press, Pakistani Taliban officials have said they are "independent" of the Taliban movement in Afghanistan. The AP quoted a leader named Faqir Mohammed as saying, though, that they were "in touch with [the Afghan Taliban’s] supreme leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar." Faqir Mohammed also acknowledged to the AP that his group harbors foreign fighters and has trained and given refuge to jihadis going to fight in Afghanistan. The group is formally known as the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.

Similarly, the Pakistani Taliban is a group of religious fundamentalists who want to impose their strict brand of Islam in Pakistan, as the Taliban did in Afghanistan.

The Pakistani Taliban group also wants government forces out of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, or FATA, the tribally-run areas next to Afghanistan.

Got a question about goings-on in the Mideast? E-mail: news@estripes.osd.mil


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