June 2009


>

 Kurram clashes
Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The restive Kurram Agency, on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, has witnessed another round of sectarian clashes. At least eight people have died. There are fears of a full-scale resurgence of the violence that has over the past few years caused hundreds of deaths as Sunni and Shia tribes clash. Indeed, while the government has essentially stood by and watched, twiddling its’ thumbs, there has been what amounts to a genocide in Kurram – the only tribal agency that houses a significant non-Sunni population. The Shias have in some places reportedly been virtually wiped out; those who could do so have fled. While the region has a long history of sectarian tensions, the recent increase in violence is attributed to the influence of the Taliban, and their orthodox, Sunni ideology. Worse still, as far as people are concerned, is the isolation of the agency. The main road to the principal town of Parachinar has been cut off for almost two years. The consequences are grave. Supplies of medicines and many food items are not reaching the area. Those who are sick suffer. Some accounts say children have died.

It is time for the authorities to move in. An All-Parties Conference (APC) in Parachinar has already demanded this after the latest surge of violence. The people of Kurram have waited far too long to be rescued from the state of siege they face. Most of them wish only to live peaceful lives without the constant threat of death stalking them. It is the duty of government to grant them this wish. There is another reason for action to be taken. The location of Kurram makes it strategically important as far as the wider fight against terrorism goes. It is said that some key crossing points into Afghanistan, which have been used by militants, are located within it. If the authorities are serious in their desire to clean up the northern areas and flush out the militants, now is the time to move in.

Visit

www.parachinar616.blogspot.com

 

view my profile

 

or join

 Kurram clashes
Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The restive Kurram Agency, on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, has witnessed another round of sectarian clashes. At least eight people have died. There are fears of a full-scale resurgence of the violence that has over the past few years caused hundreds of deaths as Sunni and Shia tribes clash. Indeed, while the government has essentially stood by and watched, twiddling its’ thumbs, there has been what amounts to a genocide in Kurram – the only tribal agency that houses a significant non-Sunni population. The Shias have in some places reportedly been virtually wiped out; those who could do so have fled. While the region has a long history of sectarian tensions, the recent increase in violence is attributed to the influence of the Taliban, and their orthodox, Sunni ideology. Worse still, as far as people are concerned, is the isolation of the agency. The main road to the principal town of Parachinar has been cut off for almost two years. The consequences are grave. Supplies of medicines and many food items are not reaching the area. Those who are sick suffer. Some accounts say children have died.

It is time for the authorities to move in. An All-Parties Conference (APC) in Parachinar has already demanded this after the latest surge of violence. The people of Kurram have waited far too long to be rescued from the state of siege they face. Most of them wish only to live peaceful lives without the constant threat of death stalking them. It is the duty of government to grant them this wish. There is another reason for action to be taken. The location of Kurram makes it strategically important as far as the wider fight against terrorism goes. It is said that some key crossing points into Afghanistan, which have been used by militants, are located within it. If the authorities are serious in their desire to clean up the northern areas and flush out the militants, now is the time to move in.

Visit

www.parachinar616.blogspot.com

 

view my profile

 

or join

>

DAWN.COM
Kurram Agency violence
  
Tuesday, 30 Jun, 2009 | 01:16 AM PST
font-size small font-size largefont-sizeprintemail share
UNLESS tackled with all the seriousness the bloodletting demands, the situation in Kurram Agency could get out of hand and have wider repercussions. More menacingly, the Taliban have made their deadly presence felt. Clashes over the weekend between rival tribes led to at least 36 more deaths, the total from 12 days of fighting going up to nearly 90 killed with hundreds injured. Because of the military’s focus on Swat and South Waziristan, the fighting and consequent humanitarian disaster in Kurram Agency seem eclipsed. But the truth is that a minimum of 3,000 people have been killed in the sectarian clashes there that have been going on intermittently since 2007. Geographically, Kurram Agency is vulnerable to outside influences because it juts into Afghanistan. It also borders North Waziristan, a Taliban bastion. The surreptitious entry of the Taliban from Dir and Swat has exacerbated the sectarian conflict to the disadvantage of the Shia community. 

The true sufferers of the conflict are the people, thousands of whom have been forced out of their ancestral homes because they belong to the wrong tribe. The militants control all highways, including the key Thall-Parachinar road. This has served to block the supply of food and medicines. As Medecins Sans Frontieres said recently, it is finding it extremely difficult to provide relief to the sick because medical supplies are getting increasingly scarce, and even hospitals have been attacked. Electricity sometimes remains out for months. This has forced many Bangash tribesmen to move into Afghanistan. The local elders have complained to the government that they were unable to play their role in effecting peace because outside presence has sidelined them. Recently, an all-party conference in Parachinar appealed to the government to launch an operation to clear Kurram Agency of the Taliban. 

It is a measure of the government’s ineffective role in the Kurram Agency killings that Isaf officials from Afghanistan have tried to bring the warring factions together and end fighting. One can understand the government’s reluctance to open another front at a time when Swat cannot be said to have been fully cleared of the Taliban and the operation in South Waziristan has just begun. But given the people’s misery, the government has no choice but to make its presence felt meaningfully and ensure peace. The first job is to open roads, especially the Thall-Parachinar route, rush food and medical supplies to the people and restore electricity fully. The government should also look into the claim recently by elders from six tribes that there was foreign interference in the area, and that some local tribesmen had been recruited by a foreign power to perpetuate trouble in the agency.
SOURCE: http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/editorial/kurram-agency-violence-069

 

Visit

www.parachinar616.blogspot.com

 

view my profile

 

or join

DAWN.COM
Kurram Agency violence
  
Tuesday, 30 Jun, 2009 | 01:16 AM PST
font-size small font-size largefont-sizeprintemail share
UNLESS tackled with all the seriousness the bloodletting demands, the situation in Kurram Agency could get out of hand and have wider repercussions. More menacingly, the Taliban have made their deadly presence felt. Clashes over the weekend between rival tribes led to at least 36 more deaths, the total from 12 days of fighting going up to nearly 90 killed with hundreds injured. Because of the military’s focus on Swat and South Waziristan, the fighting and consequent humanitarian disaster in Kurram Agency seem eclipsed. But the truth is that a minimum of 3,000 people have been killed in the sectarian clashes there that have been going on intermittently since 2007. Geographically, Kurram Agency is vulnerable to outside influences because it juts into Afghanistan. It also borders North Waziristan, a Taliban bastion. The surreptitious entry of the Taliban from Dir and Swat has exacerbated the sectarian conflict to the disadvantage of the Shia community. 

The true sufferers of the conflict are the people, thousands of whom have been forced out of their ancestral homes because they belong to the wrong tribe. The militants control all highways, including the key Thall-Parachinar road. This has served to block the supply of food and medicines. As Medecins Sans Frontieres said recently, it is finding it extremely difficult to provide relief to the sick because medical supplies are getting increasingly scarce, and even hospitals have been attacked. Electricity sometimes remains out for months. This has forced many Bangash tribesmen to move into Afghanistan. The local elders have complained to the government that they were unable to play their role in effecting peace because outside presence has sidelined them. Recently, an all-party conference in Parachinar appealed to the government to launch an operation to clear Kurram Agency of the Taliban. 

It is a measure of the government’s ineffective role in the Kurram Agency killings that Isaf officials from Afghanistan have tried to bring the warring factions together and end fighting. One can understand the government’s reluctance to open another front at a time when Swat cannot be said to have been fully cleared of the Taliban and the operation in South Waziristan has just begun. But given the people’s misery, the government has no choice but to make its presence felt meaningfully and ensure peace. The first job is to open roads, especially the Thall-Parachinar route, rush food and medical supplies to the people and restore electricity fully. The government should also look into the claim recently by elders from six tribes that there was foreign interference in the area, and that some local tribesmen had been recruited by a foreign power to perpetuate trouble in the agency.
SOURCE: http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/editorial/kurram-agency-violence-069

 

Visit

www.parachinar616.blogspot.com

 

view my profile

 

or join

>

DAWN.COM
Kurram clashes claim another 25 lives
By Our Correspondent 
Monday, 29 Jun, 2009 | 10:59 PM PST |
font-size small font-size largefont-sizeprintemail share
A security official said that three militant commanders belonging to the adjacent North Waziristan tribal area were also wounded in the fighting. — AFP/File

PARACHINAR: Clashes between rival groups continued in the Kurram tribal region on Sunday night leaving another 25 people dead.

Reports of fierce clashes have been received from Mangek, Makhzai, Jindari and Tangi areas of Lower Kurram where warring groups attacked each other with heavy weapons.

A local elder said that 25 bodies had been found in the conflict-hit areas and scores of people had suffered injuries.

He said that heavy fighting was under way in Tangi and Mangek areas where about 30 armed men holed up in a government school had been besieged by rivals.

Recent clashes had left over 100 people dead on both sides and dozens others injured.

A senior official in Peshawar told Dawn that violence subsided on Monday after security forces had dislodged armed men from two important positions.

‘A ceasefire is expected in the next 24 hours,’ he said, adding that local administration personnel were negotiating with elders from both sides. He said that the ceasefire would become effective after security forces took control of the main hills in Lower Kurram. The official said that a mortar shell hit a house in Sadda, killing one man.

Another official said that three militant commanders belonging to the adjacent North Waziristan agency were also wounded and they were shifted to a private hospital in Doaba in Hangu district.

Several rockets fired from Parachemkani landed on the outskirts of Parachinar, but did not cause any damage. Both sides have accused each other of violating a peace deal signed in Islamabad in October last year.

AFP adds: A clash erupted when militants, heading to the eastern Afghan province of Khost, were crossing an area dominated by the Toori tribe late on Sunday, local administration official Siddiq Ahmed said.

SOURCE: http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/provinces/09-fierce-clashes-kill-25-in-kurram-tribal-region-szh–06

 

Visit

www.parachinar616.blogspot.com

 

view my profile

 

or join

DAWN.COM
Kurram clashes claim another 25 lives
By Our Correspondent 
Monday, 29 Jun, 2009 | 10:59 PM PST |
font-size small font-size largefont-sizeprintemail share
A security official said that three militant commanders belonging to the adjacent North Waziristan tribal area were also wounded in the fighting. — AFP/File

PARACHINAR: Clashes between rival groups continued in the Kurram tribal region on Sunday night leaving another 25 people dead.

Reports of fierce clashes have been received from Mangek, Makhzai, Jindari and Tangi areas of Lower Kurram where warring groups attacked each other with heavy weapons.

A local elder said that 25 bodies had been found in the conflict-hit areas and scores of people had suffered injuries.

He said that heavy fighting was under way in Tangi and Mangek areas where about 30 armed men holed up in a government school had been besieged by rivals.

Recent clashes had left over 100 people dead on both sides and dozens others injured.

A senior official in Peshawar told Dawn that violence subsided on Monday after security forces had dislodged armed men from two important positions.

‘A ceasefire is expected in the next 24 hours,’ he said, adding that local administration personnel were negotiating with elders from both sides. He said that the ceasefire would become effective after security forces took control of the main hills in Lower Kurram. The official said that a mortar shell hit a house in Sadda, killing one man.

Another official said that three militant commanders belonging to the adjacent North Waziristan agency were also wounded and they were shifted to a private hospital in Doaba in Hangu district.

Several rockets fired from Parachemkani landed on the outskirts of Parachinar, but did not cause any damage. Both sides have accused each other of violating a peace deal signed in Islamabad in October last year.

AFP adds: A clash erupted when militants, heading to the eastern Afghan province of Khost, were crossing an area dominated by the Toori tribe late on Sunday, local administration official Siddiq Ahmed said.

SOURCE: http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/provinces/09-fierce-clashes-kill-25-in-kurram-tribal-region-szh–06

 

Visit

www.parachinar616.blogspot.com

 

view my profile

 

or join

>

DAWN.COM
At least 27 killed in Waziristan, Kurram clashes
By Our Correspondent 
Monday, 29 Jun, 2009 | 04:05 PM PST |
font-size small font-size largefont-sizeprintemail share
Nearly 45,000 civilians have fled from South Waziristan as fighting intensifies, according to military estimates. — AP/File photo.

DERA ISMAIL KHAN: Clashes and air strikes killed at least 27 militants, including three top Taliban commanders and five civilians, as fighting surged Monday across Pakistan’s northwest tribal belt, a Taliban stronghold, officials said.

Fighter jets pounded suspected insurgent hideouts in South and North Waziristan, where the military says it is using air raids to lay the groundwork for a full-scale assault against Pakistani Taliban warlord Baitullah Mehsud.

Pakistan has offered a 615,000-US-dollar reward for information leading to the capture, dead or alive, of Mehsud, who is holed up in South Waziristan and who has been blamed for some of the worst attacks in the country.

‘At least seven militants were killed after jet fighters pounded their hideouts in Saam village of South Waziristan,’ a security official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

In the region’s Tank district, three top commanders of the outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were killed during clashes with security forces.

Official sources told DawnNews, the TTP Tank chief, Rasheedullah, and deputy amir Ikramullah were killed in a clash with security forces in Ghara Buddha area of Tank.

Security forces were on a routine search and cordon operation when militants opened fire on them.

The gunbattle continued for some time which left a number of militants, including their Tank amir Rashidullah and naib Amir Ikramullah, dead.

In another incident, the body of Baitullah’s aide Usman was recovered from the Gara Pathar area, after he had been shot dead by an unknown assailant.

Meanwhile, three houses and one school occupied by militants and a Taliban office, were targeted in the air strike in South Waziristan, the security official said.

The houses of Taliban commanders Zarbat Khan, Naseeb Khan and Umar Khan had been destroyed but there were no reports of any casualties.

More than 30 commanders and key supporters of Baitullah have been shot dead in Tank and Dera Ismail Khan since Turkistan Bhittani and the Abdullah Mehsud group announced they would rid the area of Baitullah’s group.

In North Waziristan, five militants were killed when helicopters shelled their hideouts in the town of Madda Khel in retaliation for an ambush which killed 12 soldiers Sunday, said a security official in the region’s main town Miramshah.

Overnight, 15 Afghan-bound Taliban fighters were killed in a gun battle with tribesman in the region of Kurram, which is also part of Pakistan’s tribal belt, officials said.

The clash erupted when militants were crossing an area dominated by the Toori tribe of Shia Muslims late Sunday, local administration official Siddiq Ahmed told AFP.

‘The gun battle left 15 militants and two Toori tribesmen dead,’ he said.

Security officials confirmed the casualties near the town of Parachinar, bordering Afghanistan, and said Tooris feared the Taliban had infiltrated the area.

At least three civilians were killed in the village of Kaloosha, about 17 kilometres west of Wana, the main town in South Waziristan.

‘First militants fired rockets at an army camp in Wana, after which troops responded with artillery fire,’ said local government official Ghafoor Shah.

‘One of the shells hit people coming out of a mosque in Kaloosha village and killed three people and wounded another seven,’ Shah told AFP.

It was not clear where the shell was fired from. Security officials in the area confirmed the death toll.

SOURCE: http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/11-13-soldiers–18-taliban-killed-in-n-waziristan–officials–il–07

 

Visit

www.parachinar616.blogspot.com

 

view my profile

 

or join

Next Page »