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15 Oct 2017 description
report Voice of America

ISLAMABAD — Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States are set to resume four-way discussions Monday in Oman in a renewed bid to seek a politically negotiated settlement to the Afghan war.

The meeting of the so-called Quadrilateral Cooperation Group, or QCG, in the Gulf state is taking place after a gap of 16 months. Senior foreign ministry officials from the four nations will lead their respective delegations at the talks.

30 Sep 2017 description
report Voice of America

Ayaz Gul

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — Pakistan said that cross-border shooting by India late Friday left one soldier and two civilians dead in the disputed Kashmir region.

Three soldiers and two civilians were wounded, according to a Pakistani military statement.

The statement blamed Indian troops for initiating the fire and targeting the civilian population with heavy weapons in the Rakhchikri area near the Line of Control, which separates Pakistani and Indian portions of Kashmir.

23 Sep 2017 description
report Voice of America

Ayaz Gul

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan's military says the death toll from the overnight cross-border shooting by India in the disputed Kashmir region has risen to six.

In a statement Friday army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said 26 people, including women and children, were also wounded in what he called “unprovoked'' Indian shelling across the boundary in the Charwa and Harpal villages, on the Pakistani side.

19 Sep 2017 description
report Voice of America

Ayaz Gul

A suicide blast near one of Pakistan's two main border crossings with Afghanistan has wounded at least 22 people, including several members of the security forces.

Monday evening's attack prompted Pakistani authorities to swiftly suspended all traffic at the southwestern Chaman post.

Officials said personnel of the paramilitary Frontier Corps were heading to the border crossing when a suicide bomber ambushed their vehicle and blew himself up near a busy public spot.

Splinter group takes credit

03 Sep 2017 description
report Voice of America

Years of militancy and counterinsurgency operations in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region have destroyed much of the infrastructure, including education centers, in the area.

More than 1,100 girls’ schools in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), which is adjacent to the restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, have reportedly been damaged or fully destroyed by the decade long insurgency, according to Pakistan government estimates.

15 Aug 2017 description
report Voice of America

Madeeha Anwar

Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region, beleaguered for years by terrorism and lawlessness, has seen a decline in militant activities during the past few months as the result of government counterinsurgency operations, a recent security report says.

FATA Research Center (FRC), a non-governmental organization based in the capital of Pakistan, observed a decline of 19 percent in violent incidents during the second quarter of 2017 in the semi-autonomous Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along the border with Afghanistan.

12 Aug 2017 description
report Voice of America

QUETTA, PAKISTAN — Pakistan's army says "terrorists" have targeted a military truck with a bomb killing eight soldiers and seven civilians in the southwestern city of Quetta.

A military statement Saturday says the bomb also wounded 25 people, including 15 civilians. It says incendiary explosives were used in the blast that sparked fires in nearby vehicles.

Sarfraz Bugti, the home minister for Baluchistan, said the blast took place near a private hospital but its nature is still being investigated. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

06 Aug 2017 description
report Voice of America

By: Madeeha Anwar

Heath experts in Pakistan’s terror-wrecked Northwestern Tribal region say there has been a rise in psychological or psychiatric disorders, depression, anxiety and other forms of mental ailments as a result of frequent terror attacks.

“Dealing with militancy and sectarianism on a continued basis results in unavoidable mental stress. Inadequate health facilities add to the problems of locals who have to mostly rely on self-medication,” Dr. Talha Rehman, co-trustee of Elaj Trust, a social welfare organization told VOA.

27 Jun 2017 description
report Voice of America

Ben Thompson

WASHINGTON — The latest farm tools on the job in Pakistan are cell phones and satellites. A new program is using satellite data to estimate how much water a field needs, and then texting this information to farmers.

23 Jun 2017 description
report Voice of America

Ayaz Gul

ISLAMABAD — Two back-to-back bombs went off Friday in northwestern Pakistan, killing at least 25 people and wounding more than 100 others.

The blasts occurred in a crowded market of Parachinar, the main town of the semi-autonomous Kurram tribal district near the Afghan border.

Sajid Turi, a member of parliament from the area, told local the media that a low-intensity blast occurred during afternoon rush hours, before a second powerful bomb exploded.

14 May 2017 description
report Voice of America

May 13, 2017 4:10 PM
Madeeha Anwar

Thousands of displaced Pashtu tribesmen in northwestern Pakistan have asked the government to ensure their return to their homes before the Muslim holy period of Ramadan begins this month.

About 2,400 tribal families from the Dande Darpakhel village in North Waziristan, which is part of a semiautonomous tribal region known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), are living in temporary shelters with inadequate facilities.

12 May 2017 description
report Voice of America

May 12, 2017 10:39 AM
Ayaz Gul

A suicide bomber has struck a convoy of an Islamic party in Baluchistan, in southwestern Pakistan, killing at least 25 people and wounding more than 40 others. Most of the victims were activists with the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), a religion-based political party.

Police say Friday's attack occurred in the town of Mastung, about 50 kilometers from the provincial capital of Quetta. The blast apparently was targeted at Abdul Ghaforr Haideri, the deputy Chairman of the Pakistani Senate, the upper house of parliament.

06 May 2017 description
report Voice of America

ISLAMABAD — Border clashes between Pakistan and Afghanistan killed at least 13 people and wounded more than 80 others Friday in a disputed area, officials said.

A Pakistan army spokesman said the fighting erupted after Afghan forces fired at a government census team near the southwestern border town of Chaman.

Army spokesman Major-General Asif Ghafoor said several Pakistani soldiers escorting civilian enumerators were among the wounded. He added that Pakistani troops returned fire and closed the busy Chaman border crossing with Afghanistan.

25 Apr 2017 description
report Voice of America

By Madeeha Anwar

Nine-year-old Fahad works at a tailor shop in Peshawar with his brother to provide for their family of 11, including his six brothers, two sisters and his parents.

Making just $20 a month, his job hinders him from going to school.

“Every day on my way to work, I see students who go to school and it is very hard for me to ignore them,” Fahad told VOA. “My parents are poor and I have to work to be able to make ends meet.”

06 Apr 2017 description
report Voice of America

Ayaz Gul

ISLAMABAD — Afghanistan is calling on Pakistan to stop fencing off the border between the two countries, suggesting that Kabul might resort to military action if diplomacy fails to resolve the issue.

The Pakistani military launched the fencing project last month after the fortification of regular border crossings and construction of new security installations along portions of the 2,600-kilometer, largely porous frontier, known as the Durand Line.

03 Apr 2017 description
report Voice of America

April 03, 2017 12:14 PM
Ayesha Tanzeem

ISLAMABAD — Two weeks ago a minor water crisis hit Pakistan. The flow in rivers fell below agricultural requirements. Then temperatures rose, glaciers melted, and river flows increased threefold, evading a disaster.

“Had the temperatures not increased for another 10-15 days, we wouldn’t have been able to give the required amount of water to the provinces,” said Mohammad Khalid Rana, the Indus Water Regulatory Authority spokesman.

That would have meant a delay in planting crops like cotton, sugarcane, and rice.

31 Mar 2017 description
report Voice of America

Ayaz Gul

ISLAMABAD — Officials in Pakistan say a powerful bomb Friday ripped through a busy market in a northwestern tribal town on the Afghan border, killing at least 22 people and wounding more than 50 others.

Witnesses and local politicians say the blast in Parachinar, the administrative center of the semi-autonomous Kurram tribal district, occurred near an entrance to a Shi’ite mosque dedicated for female worshipers.

It is not clear if the car bomb was set off by remote control, or a suicide bomber carried out the attack.

27 Mar 2017 description
report Voice of America

By Ayaz Gul

ISLAMABAD —

Pakistan says it has started fencing off its long border with Afghanistan and areas vulnerable to cross-border militant attacks are being given priority.

Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa revealed the project during a visit Saturday to tribal districts, including Mohmand, near the Afghan border where "terrorists" assaulted outposts from across the other side and killed five Pakistani soldiers this month.

10 Mar 2017 description
report Voice of America

By Ayaz Gul

ISLAMABAD —

Pakistan is defying calls for permanently opening the border with landlocked Afghanistan, asserting that terrorist attacks emanating from the neighboring country continue to hurt Pakistani citizens and security forces.

A string of deadly suicide bombings across Pakistan last month prompted authorities to close all regular crossings for movements of people and trade convoys across the largely porous frontier spanning roughly 2,600 kilometers.

21 Feb 2017 description
report Voice of America

Madeeha Anwar

Aid agencies in Pakistan’s restive northwestern region are struggling to provide services to help curb militancy and deliver aid because they lack government permission to operate, according to humanitarian organizations.

The aid groups say the government is creating obstacles for them to obtain a "No Objection Certificate" (NOC) in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which has been hard-hit by militancy and terrorism. The certificate is a requirement for an organization to work in the area.