KHAAR, Nov 1: The first batch of over one thousand activists of Tehrik-i-Nifaz-i-Shariat-i-Muhammadi crossed into Afghanistan from Khaar, Bajaur Agency, on Thursday.

The caravan of 50 vehicles led by local TNSM Amir Dr Muhammad Ismail crossed into the Kunar province via Ghaki Pass at about 3pm. They were raising slogans in support of the Taliban and Osama bin Laden while entering Afghanistan.

A TNSM spokesman said that over eight thousand activists camping in Mamoond area close to the Afghan border would also leave in batches soon.

The TNSM volunteers started entering Afghanistan after they received a go-ahead signal from Maulana Sufi Muhammad who was last reported to be in Kunar. Maulana Sufi Muhammad had held talks with the head of the eastern zone, Maulvi Muhammad Kabir. The spokesman said that the TNSM chief had managed to secure the consent of the reluctant Taliban leaders to let the TNSM activists join the Jihad.

He said the TNSM Shura met at Tani Khwar in Mamoond soon after the green signal from their chief came, and gave final touches to the logistics arrangements.

The Taliban had earlier shown reluctance in allowing Pakistani volunteers due to suspicion that anti-Taliban elements might take advantage and sneak in, and secondly, due to their inability to look after and feed thousands of people.

Shortly before leaving for Afghanistan, Dr Ismail said the TNSM activists were taking with them their arms and would fight under the Taliban command. The volunteers would be sent to Jalalabad on Friday, the spokesman said, adding that only young and able-bodied people were being allowed to go to Afghanistan. A report reaching here from Kunar said the Pakistani volunteers had arrived in Asadabad where they were given a warm welcome by the locals.