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NATO Ramps Up Attacks On Taliban

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Today's AfPak news round-up.

Taliban adapt to Marine tactics. Insurgents' counteroffensive in the town of Marjah illustrates how they have adapted their plans of attack to deal with a larger NATO footprint. For example, insurgents, taking advantage of restrictions on U.S. troops' use of airstrikes to crush their attacks, have taken to following Marine patrols and then, when an opportunity arises, briefly attacking and retreating, drawing Marines down roads and intersections seeded with IEDs. "Guys that uneducated shouldn't be so smart," said one soldier. [TIME]

Pakistanis blame ties with U.S. for suicide attack on Lahore shrine. After two suicide bombers killed 41 people at the country's most important shrine, many Pakistanis told reporters they believed the attacks would not have occurred if Pakistan were not cooperating with the American and allied war effort in Afghanistan. These sentiments highlight the challenges Pakistan's government faces in trying to rally its public against extremists acting within its borders. [DAWN]

Stopping IED Attacks. Sen. Bob Casey argues Washington should do whatever it takes to prevent ammonium nitrate--the main explosive used in most IEDs--from falling into the hands of the Taliban. While Afghan President Hamid Karzai has already banned its use in fertilizer, and NATO and Afghan troops have begun a concerted effort to crack down on its proliferation, Casey says Washington should also seek to persuade Pakistan and other Central Asian countries to take further action to curb the ammonium nitrate trade. IED attacks are the leading killer of NATO troops in Afghanistan, claiming the lives of 275 American soldiers in 2009. [Politico]

NATO ramps up attacks on Taliban. U.S. officials report that 110 mid-to-high-level Taliban fighters have been captured and 32 killed as a result of surprise raids undertaken between April 1 and June 25 of this year. Most of the raids were undertaken by special forces, whose numbers in Afghanistan have tripled in the past year. This increased pressure on Taliban fighters may persuade some of them to take advantage of economic incentives recently offered by the Afghan government to insurgents who lay down their arms. [The Nation]