In a protest organised by Pakistan's largest Islamic party, Jamaat-e-Islami, local tribesmen party activists, some armed with Kalashnikovs, gathered in the town of Jamrud in the Khyber tribal district along the Afghan border. – Reuters File Photo

JAMRUD: Hundreds of Pakistani tribesmen on Tuesday threatened the United States with holy war should it take action against Haqqani extremists in North Waziristan on the Afghan border.

In a protest organised by Pakistan's largest Islamic party, Jamaat-e-Islami, local tribesmen party activists, some armed with Kalashnikovs, gathered in the town of Jamrud in the Khyber tribal district along the Afghan border.

The protestors then set off in convoy to Landikotal, a town on the border, where party leaders were to deliver final addresses.

The crowd of hundreds chanted slogans such as “Death to America”, Allah Akhbar (God is great) and al-Jihad (holy war), said an AFP reporter.

There is growing unease in Pakistan about US pressure to take action against the Haqqani militant network or the face the consequences.

The group was founded by former CIA asset turned Al-Qaeda ally Jalaluddin Haqqani and its leaders are based in North Waziristan.

In a series of escalating rows, Washington accused the Haqqanis, with involvement of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency, over September attacks on its embassy in Kabul and a Nato base in central Afghanistan.

Pakistan has said it will not bow to mounting US demands for action and denies any support for the network's attacks.

Although nothing suggests the United States is considering a ground incursion, Pakistanis fear action from American ground troops.

“America has already failed in Afghanistan. Do they need another graveyard in the Pakistani tribal areas?” Qazi Hussain Ahmed, a prominent JI leader, told the gathering, calling on the government to end its US alliance.

“The Pakistani tribal areas would prove a bigger graveyard of Americans if they ever attack these areas,” he added.

The alliance between Pakistan and the United States in the 10-year war in Afghanistan and against al Qaeda hit rock bottom this year in the wake of the unilateral American raid that killed Osama bin Laden near Islamabad on May 2.

Pakistan has around 140,000 troops based along its northwest that borders Afghanistan and says more than 3,000 soldiers have been killed since 2001 - more than the 2,735 Western soldiers who have died in Afghanistan.

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