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  • » 04/04/2007, 00.00

    PAKISTAN

    S Waziristan: more than a thousand tribal fighters set to go against al-Qaeda’s foreign militants



    Tribal elders in South Waziristan are deploying their army along the Afghan border to expel Uzbek and Chechen fighters. About 60 people have already died in clashes. Last month a similar offensive led by a former Taliban leader left almost 200 people dead.

    Islamabad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Elders in South Waziristan’s tribal areas have assembled a force of some 1,800 men to be deployed along the border with Afghanistan to fight against foreign fighters, especially Uzbek and Chechen, present in the area.

    In the first skirmishes this morning more than 60 people were killed, mostly Uzbek.

    “Pamphlets were distributed calling for every man to stand up to these Uzbeks and disarm them,” a truck driver from South Waziristan's main town of Wana said. “The response was tremendous.”

    The violent clashes of a month ago along the Afghan border between local tribal militias and foreign fighters already cost almost 200 lives. The latter are suspected of being tied to al-Qaeda and supporters of Taliban incursions into Afghanistan,

    These clashes might be the fallout of an agreement reached in the fall of 2006 between tribal leaders, Talibans and Pakistani authorities. The deal, which was made in North Waziristan but applies to other tribal areas, established a truce after Pakistan’s army and tribal rebels fought each other. In exchange for not intervening in the tribal areas the army got tribal leaders to agree to expel foreign fighters.

    When tribal militias under the command of Maulvi Nazir, a former Taliban leader, began attacking Uzbeks on March 19, the fighting was so intense that regular units of the Pakistani army had to intervene. In a few days the fighting cost about 150 lives. The fighting ended only when Muslim leaders mediated. Still the whole affair remains murky.

    Washington and Kabul believe that Waziristan and other tribal areas of Pakistan serve as the Talibans’ backyard in their fight against the Karzai government and the international military force present in Afghanistan.

    Under US pressure, the Pakistani government tried before to expel foreigners from tribal areas but to little success. This forced Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to work out a deal with tribal leaders last year.

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    See also

    18/07/2007 PAKISTAN
    Musharraf in an all out fight against terrorists
    A wave of violence sweeps the country. In one incident 17 soldiers died in a Taliban ambush near the Afghan border. In the capital suicide bomber kills 16 people.

    30/07/2009 PAKISTAN
    Hearing into President Musharraf’s conduct could lead to his incrimination
    Musharraf has to explain why he imposed a state of emergency in 2007, but he did not appear before the court. Hearing was chaired by one of his adversary, Justice Chaudhry. Experts note the great confusion in the country’s institutions and the danger of military ascendancy, especially since they do not seem to oppose the Afghan Taliban.

    02/01/2010 PAKISTAN
    Death toll from suicide attack against volleyball match rises to 105
    Hundreds of people are wounded. A building collapses. Search for dead and wounded continues. Military says attack is retaliation against local residents who back army in its fight against Taliban. In one year, thousands of civilians have been killed by the Taliban.

    23/07/2007 PAKISTAN – USA
    Islamabad rejects idea that US troops cross into Pakistan
    US intelligence sources say Bin Ladin is in a safe haven in northern Pakistan. Pakistani government denies the claim, calls on the US to be more forthcoming it its cooperation.

    16/05/2007 PAKISTAN
    Stop Islamic world’s slide into obscurantism, says Musharraf
    Pakistan’s president issues warning in opening address to the annual summit of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference. One proposal made is to deploy an Islamic peacekeeping force to Iraq. In the meantime Musharraf is facing rising street protests in favour of an independent judiciary and calls for investigation into yesterday’s deadly attack in Peshawar.



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