Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Pakistan tribes request army aid against Taliban

The Nation Newspaper Pakistan

Kurram killings

Published: June 29, 2009

KURRAM Agency, which has seen sectarian strife in the past, has once again erupted into violence. The fresh clashes between warring groups in various parts of the Agency on Friday night and Saturday left 33 people dead and 65 others injured, many of them seriously. The fighting that began about two weeks ago intensified after the reported infiltration of outsiders from Waziristan and Hangu district but what is disturbing for the local population is lack of action by the security forces deployed there. 
The situation has turned frightening for half a million people living in the region bordering Afghanistan. Some of them who spoke to the media on Saturday sounded bitter over the attitude of the administration whom they accused of having given a free hand to the troublemakers. The Shias, who constitute 42 percent of the total population, are sacred of the increasing influx of Taliban in the area from Swat, Dir and other parts of the Malakand Division. A tribal leader in Upper Kurram said more than 700 tribesmen have been martyred while fighting the Taliban over the past two years but they were determined to stand "shoulder to shoulder with the Army" in the operation against militants. Both sides are trying to consolidate their positions while accusing each other of seeking help from the outsiders. Recently militants attacked a government convoy carrying food to the troubled region, which triggered a clash between the rival groups and left nine people dead. Such incidents exacerbate both food crisis and humanitarian situation in the region that remains disconnected from the rest of Pakistan because the main road leading to the Agency is controlled by militants who do not allow foodstuff and medicines to reach the area.





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