A disturbing new trend on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border: Rival insurgent groups are laying aside their feuds and joining forces to fight American and allied forces. “This is actually a syndicate of related and associated militant groups and networks,” an American officer tells the New York Times. “They cooperate with each other. They franchise work with each other.” Evidence found after one recent attack revealed three different factions were involved.
Senior al-Qaeda leaders are also “part of this very complex collusion that occurs between all of these extremist groups,” says an official, calling their involvement “not all that tangible, but … still pretty important.” American officials insist, however, that the new alliances are evidence that the groups are feeling pressure from American, Afghan, and allied forces, as well as the Pakistani military and American drone strikes. Says one, “They have been forced to cooperate due to the effect our collective efforts have had on them.”