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Kukikhels unhappy with security forces

November 11, 2012

A security official said that tipping off tribes before any raid would undermine the element of surprise and defeat the very objective of capturing and killing militants.   — Photo by ONLINE

PESHAWAR: A senior law enforcement officer has admitted that security agencies do not take the political administration and tribal elders into confidence before conducting any raid.

Elders of the Kukikhel tribe in Khyber Agency had accused security agencies of violating their privacy during raids.

The startling disclosure contained in an official document, available with Dawn, refers to a jirga held between the commandant of Khyber Rifles, assistant political agent of Jamrud and elders of the Kukikhel tribe.

The account of the jirga contained in a letter by the APA, Jamrud and addressed to the Khyber political agent brings to surface a longrunning lack of trust between the security apparatus, the political administration and tribes in the volatile region.

There have been reports in the past highlighting the lack of trust between security forces and the political administration, but this is the first time that a recorded account of such an instance has come to light.

The jirga, held on Oct 30, was attended by Malik Faizullah Jan Kukikhel, Malik Ismail Kukikhel and Malik Abdul Ghaffar Kukikhel.

The tribal elders criticised the recent operation in different localities without taking them and the political administration into confidence.

“They said that with these operations, their respect and honour was disgraced and no regard for women and children was given and innocent people were arrested along with their weapons which were meant for their self-protection,” the letter quoted the tribal elders as saying.

The elders complained their houses and villages were raided at night.

They asked the Khyber Rifles commandant to share the list of wanted miscreants and militants with the political administration so as to enable them to issue notices for their surrender.

The tribal elders said that they were loyal to the government and had rendered sacrifices.

“The Kukikhel tribe was the first to welcome the army into Tirah, but in spite of this, we were not given respect and our traditions are being undermined.”

They said the Kukikhel tribe had lost more than 100 of its people and a large number of them were injured, but they were given a meagre compensation.

The commandant said that raids were conducted to protect the strategic highway from Jamrud to Torkham, which was the hub of business and transportation of goods to Afghanistan.

He said the reason for not taking the political administration and the tribal elders into confidence before any raid was concern for their safety. “Instances have shown that whoever openly supported the government and security forces was immediately targeted,” the officer said.

He said the Khyber Khasadar Force and the newly-created Khyber Levies Force were not capable of combating militants and terrorists while the security forces chased terrorists at risk to their lives.

He did not agree with the elders about sharing of the list of terrorists and wanted militants with the political administration and the tribal elders.

“If the wanted list of militants and terrorists is given to them for surrender, they might not be able to do the work,” he said.

A security official said that tipping off tribes before any raid would undermine the element of surprise and defeat the very objective of capturing and killing militants.