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Thursday, September 28, 2006


Miran Shah, 28 Sept. (AKI/DAWN) - The local Taliban have set up an office in Miran Shah, the headquarters of Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal area, for "curbing crimes and anti-social activities" in the area. Announcements were made and pamphlets distributed in the town on Wednesday, asking residents to cooperate with the Taliban in keeping peace. The office, complete with phone, has been set up at the main bus stand in Miran Shah and the Taliban Shura (council) has appointed a committee to run it. The move follows the signing of a peace accord between the Pakistani government and pro-Taliban militants earlier this month.

"There is complete lawlessness in the area and crimes have increased. So after the peace accord the Taliban have set up office to serve residents of the area and restore peace,” read one pamphlet, apparently referring to the agreement signed between the Pakistani federal government and the Taliban on 5 September in North Waziristan which lies on the Pakistan-Afghan border.

That deal called on the tribesmen to expel foreign militants and end cross-border attacks in return for a reduction of Pakistani troops in the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan. Under the agreement which was reached through a grand council or jirga of tribal elders, Pakistan has agreed to end all ground and air operations in the area. The local militants pledged not to attack Pakistan troops and facilities and not to harbour foreign militants or launch cross-border raids.

In their move to take charge of security in Waziristan, the Taliban Wednesday imposed a ban on the movement of ‘masked men’ in the agency and asked people to inform them if anybody found moving about in the area with his face covered. The pamphlet said that if an incident of robbery, banditry or any other criminal act took place in the area, people should immediately contact the Taliban by phone or lodge a complaint at their office.

Meanwhile, military authorities returned Kalashnikovs, books and other material belonging to a seminary owned by Afghan jihadi commander Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani on Wednesday. Some tribal elders received these items.

Officials said security forces had raided the seminary a few months ago and seized arms and equipment. Under the peace accord, the government and militants would return weapons and other equipment snatched during army actions.

In another development, political authorities set free three more people from the Miran Shah jail on Wednesday. The three were from the North Waziristan and were released on bail.

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