PARACHINAR, April 12: Guns went silent in most areas of the Kurram Agency on Thursday after a jirga brokered a ceasefire between warring groups to end week-long bloody clashes which have claimed about 65 lives.

Syed Hussain Ali Shah, a member of the jirga, told Dawn that elders from both the sides had agreed to a ceasefire.

According to AFP, tribesmen have blamed elements in Afghanistan for a week of fierce clashes between rival groups. “Tribesmen have blamed extraneous forces from across the border for the unrest,” said a statement issued by the office of the NWFP governor, which oversees affairs in the tribal region.

The 33-member jirga, comprising elders from Aurakzai and Bangash tribes of Hangu, arrived in the troubled town on Thursday and held negotiations with the local administration and notables of the area.

Before proceeding to Parachinar, the jirga members held talks with elders in Alizai and Sadda towns and a formal truce was reached.

The jirga held separate meetings with representatives of Sunni and Shia groups and the political authorities in Parachinar. The rival groups agreed to end hostilities and authorised the jirga to enforce a ceasefire, Mr Hussain said.

He said the authorities might relax the curfew for a short period in the Parachinar town on Friday. The town has been under curfew since Friday.

Officials and residents said that skirmishes had continued in Parachamkani-Kirman, Piwar-Tari Mingal and Muqbal-Kharlachi. However, combatants vacated their positions in others areas of the agency and security forces secured hilltops and sensitive points.

Political agent Sahibzada Mohammad Anees told Dawn that the curfew would be relaxed on Friday. He claimed that fighting had stopped in the entire agency, adding that security forces had been asked to take action against ceasefire violations.

Residents of Kharlachi, a small town near the Afghan border, said their houses had come under rocket attack from across the border. Several rockets were fired on the nearby Borki village from across the Afghan border on Wednesday, wounding three persons.

Sources said the week-long clashes had claimed about 65 lives. Over 250 people were injured, including women and children. The region is without power and telephone lines are dead in different areas.

Secretary Fata (security) Arbab Mohammad Arif told reporters in Peshawar that the death toll had touched 49 and 115 people had been wounded. He denied involvement of outsiders in the conflict.

Mr Arif said the government would not launch any judicial inquiry into the crisis and the matter would be resolved in accordance with tribal traditions and customs.

The sources said the situation in Jilamai and Chardewal villages in the Lower Kurram Agency, which had been attacked by a lashkar on Wednesday, was still grave and paramilitary forces had failed to secure the villages.