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KHAAR (Bajaur agency), Dec 18: Afghan authorities have arrested six residents of Bajaur agency for allegedly smuggling timber from Afghanistan’s eastern province of Kunnar. The six belonging to the Salarzai and the Mamond tribes were arrested when they were buying timber in Asadabad, capital of Kunnar province. The Afghan authorities alleged that they had been smuggling timber for last many months from Kunnar into Bajaur.

Relatives of the arrested tribesmen, however, denied the allegation and said that the accused had bought a big quantity of timber in Kunnar some months ago and made full payment to owners of the forest. The owners, however, were neither handing over the timber nor returning their money.

They said the forest owners had misreported the issue to the provincial authorities and the Afghan security forces arrested the tribesmen on the basis of their allegations.

Timber traders and tribal elders of Bajaur agency have urged the Kunnar authorities to release these tribesmen. In this regard a jirga of tribal elders of Bajaur agency will meet the governor of Kunnar in the next few days.

SECURITY FOR TRIBAL JOURNALISTS: The Tribal Union of Journalists has demanded security for journalists of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).

It also called upon the political administration of North Waziristan to immediately recover journalist Hayatullah Khan who was kidnapped a few days back.

During a seminar held on Sunday, the TUJ also urged the government to provide security to journalists working in the tribal agencies.

President TUJ Haji Habibullah Khaasi said that for the last few years journalists working in tribal agencies had been facing security problem while working conditions were also not very favourable for them.

He said that the political administration had taken no effective measure to create a working environment wherein journalists could perform their duties without any fear.

He said many journalists had abandoned their profession due to lack of security to their lives and property in the tribal agencies.

The participants of the seminar demanded of the government to provide security to the lives and property of the journalists of the tribal agencies.