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 28 militants killed in Khyber
Updated at  
Thursday, July 02, 2009
35 die as Lashkar attacks Taliban in Kurram; 14 dead in tribal fighting; Turi, Bangash tribesmen make peace; Lashkar seeks Army’s help

By Nasrullah Afridi & Javed Aziz Khan

BARA/PESHAWAR: At least 28 militants, including an unidentified commander, were killed when gunship helicopters pounded the hideouts of a banned militant organisation in the Tirah Valley of Khyber Agency on Wednesday.

Sources said that three gunship helicopters pounded the hideouts of Mangal Bagh-led Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) in Sandapal and Akakhel areas of Tirah Valley.An official of Frontier Corps (FC) Major Fazal claimed that 28 militants were killed in the action and among them was a commander.

However, talking to The News by phone from an undisclosed location, Laskhar-e-Islam spokesman Zar Khan denied any losses to his group.Khyber Agency’s Political Agent Tariq Hayat said the action was successful but details were awaited.

Tribal sources said the murder of Malik Guli Shah, a pro-government tribal elder in Jamrud, Khyber Agency, on Wednesday was the immediate reason for the military action. He added that the political authorities also arrested five militants allegedly involved in the killing of Guli Shah.

Three of the arrested militants belonged to the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan and the remaining two hailed from the Kukikhel tribe, Khyber Agency, the sources added.It was learnt that the arrested militants were shifted to the Khyber House, Peshawar for further interrogation.

Earlier, a schoolboy was killed and 15 others sustained injuries when the boundary wall of a private public school collapsed in Tirah Valley.The deceased student was identified as Naik Marjan while some of the injured included Taif Khan, Samin Khan, Zahoor Khan, Shakeel Khan, Khilwat Khan and Hidayat Khan.

Meanwhile, a suspected miscreant blew himself up following an encounter between the police and occupants of a car in Mashogagar village in Peshawar.. The police force was attacked for fourth time during the last three days in the area.

The cops were tipped off about a suicide bomber being tasked to carry out attack in Peshawar, along with his four accomplices in a white, explosives-laden car on Wednesday. “A patrolling party of Badaber police station signalled a suspicious car on the Frontier Road in Mashogagar village. Five occupants of the car, however, opened fire on the cops and hurled a hand-grenade at them that luckily did not explode,” Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Coordination Peshawar Qazi Jamilur Rahman told The News.

He said the cops managed to stop the car by firing at its tyres. Its four or five occupants managed to escape but the policemen encircled one person, who blew himself instead of surrendering.

The explosives filled in the car were then defused. “The explosives filled in the car were connected with three types of chargers and detonators — manual, automatic and electrical. We will now determine the quantity of the explosives stuffed in the vehicle,” the deputy city police chief said.

An official at the Badaber police station said the hunt was continuing to nab the four fleeing criminals, who attacked the police party. It wasn’t immediately known whether the criminal killed in the incident was a suicide bomber or he was killed by his own hand-grenade..

Matani and Badaber, the two police stations located on both sides of the vulnerable Kohat Road between the Peshawar city and Darra Adamkhel town, are facing the worst law and order situation for the past many months.

AP adds: A tribal Lashkar attacked Taliban hideouts in Kurram Agency on Wednesday, killing 28 militants and suffering seven fatalities themselves, and the intensifying battles prompted them to ask for Army troops to help, a local lawmaker said.

The fighting in the remote Kurram region was the latest in two weeks of battles between militants and tribesmen there that have killed 141 people, including more than 100 insurgents, two government officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media. Their accounts could not be independently verified.

Sajid Hussain Turi, a lawmaker from Kurram, said the militants were moving into Kurram from the Swat Valley, where the military is undertaking an offensive to root them out. He said hundreds of tribesmen took part in the attack early Wednesday, triggering a gun battle that killed 28 militants and seven tribal fighters.

“Kurram is an important place because the Taliban can cross the Afghan border from here easily,” Turi said. “The Lashkar is facing these armed Taliban, but we request that the government send troops to Kurram to fight the Taliban as quickly as possible.”

Our correspondents from Sadda & Parachinar add: Fourteen persons were killed and 26 others injured in clashes between rival groups here on Wednesday night. Later, the elders of Upper and Lower Kurram succeeded in brokering a ceasefire after hectic efforts, sources said.

Similarly, the rival tribes — Mastokhel, Hamzakhel, Ghundikhel, Alizai, and Shia Bangash of the Turi tribe and Parachamkani Masozai, Ali Sherzai, Zehmasht, Mangal and Sunni Bangash — were still at war with one another in Balishkhel, Sangeena, Khar Killay, Sadda city, Mingak, Makhzai and Tangai areas of Lower Kurram.

Sources said two Jirgas were held simultaneously in Parachinar in Upper Kurram and in Sadda Tehsil in Lower Kurram, chaired by Political Agent Arshad Majeed and Assistant Political Agent Ayaz Mandokhel, respectively.

The political agent said tribal elders of the Turi and Bangash tribes played a key role in defusing tensions. Talking to The News, Arshad Majeed said after successful talks among the tribal elders of both the tribes, the paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) contingents were sent to Baleshtkhel, Khwar Killay and other villages in Lower Kurram where the tribal fighters vacated and handed over 13 posts to security forces..

The political agent said security forces would be sent to Parachamkani and Kirman areas of Upper Kurram to take control of the posts set up by the local tribal fighters. Earlier, sources said, fierce fighting took place in Mingak, Makhzai and Tangai areas of Lower Kurram and armed men of the warring tribes targeted each other’s positions with small and heavy weapons.

 
 

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