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Soldiers drive toward North Waziristan during a 2014 military offensive against the Pakistani Taliban.

REUTERS/Ihsan Khattak

As Pakistan confronts the Taliban, Washington backs Islamabad — kind of

Afghanistan and Pakistan are on the brink of direct conflict.

Terror attacks from the Pakistani Taliban — aka the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or the TTP, who are ideologically affiliated with and politically backed by the Afghan Taliban — are increasing across Pakistan. In the last two weeks, Pakistani intelligence operatives have been gunned down in the country’s biggest province, and a detention facility has been overtaken and officials held hostage.

To defend itself, Islamabad has hinted that it might attack TTP hideouts in Afghanistan … with Washington’s blessing.

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A barricade is seen inside the Waterloo Station in London.

REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

Hard Numbers: Train strike slows UK, terror in Mali, pricey Peace Prize, deadly tremor hits Afghanistan, crafty house-selling in China

30: If you’re based in the UK, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to exercise this week. The biggest transport strike in 30 years got underway on Tuesday, affecting commuters and tourists alike. More action is planned for Thursday and Saturday, with tens of thousands of railway workers participating and threatening to continue striking until their demand for a wage increase is met by the UK's rail, maritime, and transport union.

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Malaysia ups palm oil exports, al-Shabab strikes in Somalia, split verdict on marital rape in India, journalist killed in West Bank

Hard Numbers: Malaysia ups palm oil exports, al-Shabab strikes in Somalia, split verdict on marital rape in India, journalist killed in West Bank

162: Indian women’s rights groups are reeling after a New Delhi court failed to deliver a verdict in a case that could have overturned a 162-year-old law permitting marital rape. The Indian Penal Code says sex "by a man with his own wife" does not constitute rape. The case will likely be appealed before the Supreme Court.

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How Should the Taliban Handle ISIS? | GZERO World

How will the Taliban handle ISIS and other terrorist groups?

Though the Taliban is now in control of Afghanistan, terrorist groups still operate freely throughout the country. Among them is ISIS-Khorasan (or ISIS-K), which was created in 2015 by disaffected members of the Taliban who pushed for a more hardline approach to Islam.

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Former US Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff Discusses Counterterrorism | GZERO World

Former US Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff discusses counterterrorism

For Michael Chertoff, former US secretary of Homeland Security from 2005 to 2009, the fact that America has not experienced a single attack by foreign terrorists since 9/11 proves that the US was "successful" in its strategy to prevent terrorism. That "was not [an] accident and there was a deterrent effect to be honest — had we been lax, more would have tried." Although he admits the US government wasn't transparent enough about the intelligence it was collecting, Chertoff credits US intelligence agencies with helping to foil the plot to blow up airplanes mid-air from Heathrow to the US in 2006. The US mission in Iraq, or what came after was not clearly thought out, according to Michael Chertoff, who served as the Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security under George W. Bush. The Iraq war made it difficult to focus on the US mission in Afghanistan and absorbed resources that could have been used more effectively elsewhere, he said.

Watch this episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer: Is America safer since 9/11?

Rory Stewart Explains Why Afghanistan Could Become a New Hotbed for Global Terrorism | GZERO World

Rory Stewart explains why Afghanistan could become a new hotbed for global terrorism

Former UK diplomat Rory Stewart says the world is safer today than it was 20 years ago, but that terrorists still pose a threat to international security. Victories for jihadists in Iraq, Syria and now Afghanistan could ultimately lead the world towards more global terrorism. As if the Taliban retaking Afghanistan wasn't enough of a blow, the ISIS-K attack on the Kabul airport may be a sign that the country is on its way to become a safe haven for terrorist groups yet again.

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US now at most isolationist stage since WW2, says former UK diplomat | GZERO World

US now at most isolationist stage since WW2, says former UK diplomat

How has America's withdrawal from Afghanistan affected the US-UK "special relationship"? For former UK diplomat Rory Stewart, the hasty pullout without consulting close allies is only the latest example of the US — under first Trump and now Biden — being at the most isolationist stage on foreign military interventions since World War II. "It's a very, very awkward, odd moment. I mean, we, can we rebuild from it, but it's been a very shattering, disappointing moment." Watch his interview with Ian Bremmer on the latest episode of GZERO World.

Watch the episode: Is America Safer Since 9/11?

Former Top US Official Regrets Iraq Becoming 'Magnet' for Terrorism | GZERO World

Former top US official regrets Iraq becoming 'magnet' for terrorism

If Michael Chertoff has one regret from his tenure as US secretary of Homeland Security (2005-2009), it's Iraq. He says the US-led war there not only distracted from Afghanistan, but the unclear mission and lack of post-war planning ultimately turned Iraq into "a magnet for all kinds of attacks on Americans, that absorbed more resources, more attention, and more patients." Watch his interview with Ian Bremmer on this episode of GZERO World.

Watch the episode: Is America Safer Since 9/11?

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