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Friday, September 29, 2006

Taliban say they shot "spy" in Pakistan's Waziristan

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - The Taliban claimed responsibility on Friday for executing a man described as a spy for U.S. and Afghan intelligence in North Waziristan, a border region where the Pakistan government signed a pact with tribals a few weeks ago to stamp out militancy.

Leaflets justifying the slaying were distributed in the semi-autonomous Pashtun tribal region a day after Malang Rahim Jan's bullet-ridden body was found. Taliban and al Qaeda fighters had been active in the area before a ceasefire was called three months ago to allow talks that led to the September 5 pact.

"With Allah's blessing, Taliban captured this spy and gave him punishment according to Shariah (Islamic law)," read the leaflet, bearing a photograph of Jan, with his identification card pinned to his chest. The dead man was said to be an Afghan.

The leaflet was titled "Da Jasoosi Anjam", meaning "Fate of the Spy" -- the same title put on several execution videos made by Al-Sahab Productions, an arm of al Qaeda's media wing.

"He had reported that 10 Taliban centres were here," the leaflet said. "He was working for Afghan intelligence."

Afghanistan says Taliban forces fighting in southern Afghanistan are being reinforced from Pakistan, but Islamabad says the accusation is exaggerated.

The United States and other NATO members with troops in Afghanistan are closely monitoring events in North Waziristan.

A handful of such killings have been reported since the government signed a treaty with a faction of tribal leaders dominated by clerics from an Islamist political party that has supported the Taliban cause.

Critics fear the pact could create a safe-haven in North Waziristan for the Taliban and al Qaeda.

The army has taken a much lower profile since. Suspected militants have been freed, weapons returned and compensation paid.

So far, the pact has succeeded in halting attacks on Pakistani troops in North Waziristan, but attacks on U.S. and Afghan forces directly across the border have increased sharply since the June truce, according to the U.S. military in Kabul.
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