Taliban Forms United Front

Just as President Obama begins preparations to shift military forces from Iraq to Afghanistan, three rival Pakistani Taliban groups have reached an agreement to unite for the purpose of a single full-throttled insurgency against U.S. troops there. The new group, calling itself the Council of United Holy Warriors, has NATO officers worried that the partnership will significantly increase the flow of Taliban fighters across the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Mullah Omar, the cleric who leads the Afghan Taliban, called for the unity pact so that insurgents could refocus and “liberate Afghanistan from the occupation forces.” Violence in Afghanistan shot upward in 2008, with 5,000 people killed—a 40% increase from the year before. The Obama administration plans to send an additional 17,000 troops to the area.