Operation imminent in Kurrum

21 Aug 2008

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ISLAMABAD / PARACHINAR / KOHAT, Aug 20: The government has decided to launch a massive operation against the two warring groups in Kurram Agency who did not stop fighting and ignored a deadline given to them.

“The government is closely monitoring the situation in Kurram Agency and has reiterated that any violence will be effectively dealt with. The Frontier Constabulary has been given a go-ahead to take action as deemed necessary in case of violation of the ceasefire,” Prime Minister’s Adviser on Interior Affairs Rehman Malik said.

A jirga was sent from Hangu to Kurram Agency to negotiate an end to the fighting between the Toori and Bangash tribes, but both sides violated a ceasefire announced by it. Consequently, the FC was ordered to take action against both sides and 10 to 15 militants are reported to have been killed.

On the other hand, the jirga has sought another 72 hours to restore peace in the area after holding another round of talks with elders from both sides in the Sadda tehsil of the agency. Headed by Hangu Nazim Khan Afzal, the jirga had been engaged in talks for five days.

Meanwhile, at least 42 people were killed and 67 others injured in clashes between the tribes on Wednesday. The warring factions targeted each other’s positions with heavy weapons.

According to sources, three bodies were taken to Bara in Khyber Agency, five to Orakzai Agency, three to Hangu and nine to Waziristan.

A tribal lashkar recaptured a bunker which had been occupied by one of the groups.

Highly placed sources told Dawn on phone that an army officer, identified as Major Anwar, and a civilian were injured in a mortar attack on a checkpost in the Ibraheemzai area of Kurram Agency on Wednesday evening.

However, they said, the army did not retaliate.

Sources said heavy fighting continued in the Upper, Central and Lower Kurram region. They said residents of Sadda had started moving to Kohat and Peshawar.