Thursday, October 1, 2009

Afghan security for Kurram passengers

Afghan security for Kurram passengers
By Inamullah Khattak
Wednesday, 30 Sep, 2009 | 06:35 AM PST

RAWALPINDI, Sept 29: In a bid to win the hearts and minds of tribesmen of Pakistan, the Afghan government on Tuesday provided security to a convoy of the people of Kurram Agency while going to Peshawar.

The people of Parachinar prefer to use Afghan routes while going to other parts of Pakistan. The Tall-Parachinar road, which is the shortest route connecting Kurram with other parts of the country, has been occupied by militants for two years.

Thousands of tribesmen of Parachinar who live in other parts of the country could not celebrated Eidul Fitr with their families this year due to the closure of the road and most of those who tried to travel to their homes via Afghan routes were either killed or kidnapped by militants, mostly in the Paktika province of Afghanistan.

This is for the first time that the Afghan government provided formal security to passengers of the Kurram Agency while using Afghan routes for entering Pakistan.

About 400 tribesmen of the Kurram Agency on Tuesday gathered at the Burki border and started journey in a large convoy guarded by the Afghan army and were accompanied to the Torkham border.

"We will never forget the help of the Afghan government for safely escorting us to Torkham border. Our family members have been brutally killed by militants. But now we are safe while using Afghan routes," Nazakat Ali, a passenger, told Dawn on phone after reaching Rawalpindi.

"I am really thankful to the Afghan army. We have been demanding opening of the Tall-Parachinar road and security to passengers from the Pakistan government, but to no avail," Roashan Bangash, another tribesman said.

MNA from Kurram Agency Sajid Hussain Turi regretted that the Afghan government proved to be more loyal to the tribal people than the Pakistani government, adding it was a shameful event for the government.



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