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NATO Concerned About Pakistani Peace Deal


NATO says it is concerned about a peace deal between officials in northwestern Pakistan and Taliban sympathizers.

A NATO spokesman, James Appathurai, said Tuesday he does not doubt the good faith of the Pakistani government, but said he is concerned by a situation in which extremists would have a safe haven.

Pakistani officials in North West Frontier Province signed an agreement Monday with Sufi Muhammad, a militant leader who pledged to lay down arms in exchange for having Islamic law or Sharia in Swat valley.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has praised the deal, saying it is in line with his government's policy of "dialogue, development and deterrence."

The U.S. government says it is awaiting further details from the Pakistani government on the situation.

The militant leader who signed the deal is the father-in-law of Maulana Fazlullah, who heads a hardline group of Pakistani Taliban that controls much of the Swat valley.

A spokesman for Fazlullah says the militant leader will support his father-in-law's peace agreement, but the men's troubled history could complicate the deal.

Local officials struck another peace deal with Fazlullah last year, but his militants have continued their attacks.

Militants from various factions are operating in northwestern Pakistan. Some use the territory to attack Afghan and international forces in neighboring Afghanistan. Others, like Fazlullah's group, Tehrike Taliban Pakistan, are attacking targets inside Pakistan.

On the outskirts of the northern city of Peshawar Tuesday, a car bomb exploded near the home of a local official, killing three people and wounding at least 12 others. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

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