Fractured state of Pakistani Taliban calls peace deal into question

But since talks with government negotiators officially started last month, the question is not just whether the militants wish to deliver a deal, but whether they even can.

An eruption of violent rivalries and internal disputes in the past month has strained the militants’ cohesion, cast doubt on their ability to make peace, and raised the prospect of a militant surge into Afghanistan.

Most immediately, an outbreak of infighting between rival Taliban commanders in the hills of Waziristan left at least 40 militants dead and exposed a violent factional rift in the movement’s operational heartland, according to Taliban members and locals.

A leadership crisis that began after an American drone strike killed the group’s commander in November inflamed internal arguments — including a debate over whether to prioritize the fight against Pakistan’s army, or to send more fighters into Afghanistan as American troops are leaving.

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