Tirah clash leaves 3 Taliban dead

30 Nov 2011


LANDI KOTAL/KOHAT, Nov 30: At least three militants including an important commander were killed and four others received injuries in a clash between rival armed outfits in Tirah valley of Khyber Agency on Wednesday.

Sources said that members of banned militant organisation Lashkar-i-Islam and volunteers of Kukikhel tribal lashkar attacked the Maylo base of Tariq Afridi-led Taliban when the latter abducted two activists of the former.

They said that both sides used heavy weapons against each other during the clashes, which continued till Wednesday evening.

Local sources said that besides killing three Taliban including one of their important commanders Abu Atif, the Lashkar-i-Islam and Kukikhel volunteers destroyed a hideout of militants in the area.

Lashkar-i-Islam sources in Bara claimed to have captured at least five Taliban during the clash. They said that their four activists were injured in the fighting.

The Tariq Afridi group had forcibly evicted some of the Kukikhel families from their houses in Tirah valley few months ago to establish its bases in the area. Since then, Kukikhel tribe had been at loggerheads with Tariq Afridi group of Taliban. A number of people had been killed from both sides during sporadic clashes between the two sides.

Tariq Afridi group had also claimed responsibility for the suicide attack on a Friday congregation in Jamrud on August 19 this year that killed at least 54 tribesmen, mostly Kukikhels.

Taliban said that the attack was a reaction to the formation of a Kukikhel lashkar in Tirah and killing of their two members by the lashkar men.

The Lashkar-i-Islam, having a strong presence in neighbouring Sipah area, was also not happy with the growing influence of Taliban in Tirah valley. The two groups had traded gunfire on a number of occasions besides targeting each other sympathisers with bomb attacks.

Also, the head of a local peace committee was killed when a time bomb planted at his car went off in Hangu city on Wednesday.

Officials said that Haji Hashim Khan, the head of the peace body, had come to Hangu city from his hometown Darband to appear before a court. A bomb planted at his Land Cruiser exploded near the office of the district coordination officer, killing him on the spot, they added.

They said that his driver Shah Habib and gunman Shah Nawaz were seriously injured in the blast. They were taken to Hangu civil hospital for treatment.

The bomb disposal squad said that about one kilogram explosives were used in the blast. “It was a magnetic devise, fixed with a timer,” they added.

Haji Hashim Khan was buried in his ancestral graveyard in Darband area of Hangu in the presence of thousands of people.

The Hangu city police registered a case against unidentified terrorists and launched investigations.

In is pertinent to mention here that militants had killed several anti-Taliban political leaders in Hangu as they were trying to broker a peace deal between Shia and Sunni sects and restore peace in the area. They include former provincial minister Ghaniur Rehman, district chief of Jamaat-i-Islami Fida Sadi and former district nazim Khan Afzal.