Cleric who ordered attack on schoolgirl hides in Afghanistan

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The Taliban leader who sparked international outrage by ordering the attack on a Pakistani schoolgirl last month has escaped retribution by hiding in a section of eastern Afghanistan where U.S. forces are already spread thin and focused on other targets, according to U.S. officials.

U.S. military and intelligence officials said that Mullah Fazlullah, the mastermind of the attack on 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai, operates out a region adjoining Pakistan where several hundred U.S. troops are stationed. But they said finding Fazlullah is not a priority because he is not affiliated with al-Qaida or with insurgents targeting U.S. and Afghan interests.

Much attention has been focused on militants attacking U.S. and Afghan troops from havens inside Pakistan. But officials said extremists from Pakistan have managed to evade the Pakistani army and CIA drones by finding sanctuary in remote parts of Afghanistan.

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