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Arrest of Americans shows growing internationalism of Pakistani militant groups

"It shows that this is truly a global phenomenon," said Talat Masood, an Islamabad-based security analyst and former Pakistani general.

For Pakistan-based groups, attracting Americans to their cause probably holds special appeal, Masood said.

"It allows them to say, 'Look, our sense of duty and motivation is so high that people come all the way from the U.S. to fight with us,' " he said.

Analysts said the discovery of the five Americans could further increase pressure on Pakistan to crack down on militant groups. The Obama administration has said that greater cooperation from Pakistan will be critical as the United States sends 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan next year to try to roll back the insurgency there.

Pakistan's commitment to fighting militant groups has been questioned repeatedly by U.S. officials, who say that elements of the nation's military and intelligence services continue to back radical organizations with which they have a history of cooperation.

But Rizvi said the arrests in Sargodha suggest that Pakistani law enforcement has stepped up its anti-militancy efforts, even against groups such as Jaish-i-Muhammad that once enjoyed state support.

Even groups formerly tied to Pakistan's intelligence service are being monitored "very closely," he said.

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