Terrorists blow up bridge in South Waziristan - 15 May, 2002 - News

Two powerful bombs blew up a suspension bridge in the wee hours of Tuesday in the Kanikurram area of South Waziristan Agency, Pakistani federally administered tribal area.

The bridge was used as the only communication source by the people of Kanikurram, which is mainly inhabited by Burki and Warmar tribes and the whole of the population is concentrated on a single mountain. The bridge was used as source of communication for water flow in the ravines on both sides of the mountain is too thick and sometimes inundate the low-lying locality during the rainy season. A member of the Burki tribe said the blasts blew up the entire 90 feet long bridge into pieces. For the last two months such blast incidents occurred in the same area where a government school was also blown up.

The residents termed the Tuesday’s blast as an act of terrorism and a warning from the groups to the government registering their resentment against the presence of foreign troops in the tribal belt.

An official working for Pakistani security agency in the tribal belt, on condition of anonymity said that the action was to give a warning signal to the government against a possible operation in the Kanikurram area, which the military forces are intending to carry out for hunt of Taliban and al-Qaeda fugitives.

The residents feared the joint troops would make this incident an excuse for initiating an operation in Kanikuram like the operation in areas surrounding Wana and Birmal-Lara, where a controller of Madrasa-e-Fayazul Uloom, Darya Khan, was killed during a night raid by the US troops last week.

Reports from Wana, agency headquarters of South Waziristan, say that the nephew of a renowned chieftain of Ahmedzai Wazir tribe, Baa Khan, was injured during the raid of paramilitary troops at the Rustam Ada. According to reports the tribal elders at a jirga on Monday decided that only aged persons of the ‘khaisadar’ force, Maliks (tribal elders) of the area and aged armymen with beard would be allowed to carryout the search operation. To this the political administration Tuesday cordoned off the Baa Khan market in Wana with the help of the Army and paramilitary troops to apprehend Baa Khan but the tribal people resisted the move and surrounded the militia with heavy arms including rocket launcher in retaliation.

The militia tried to arrest the nephew of Baa Khan, Ismail son of Ghanum Khan, who was traveling in a pickup, and on resistance he was fired upon which resulted into multiple injuries. He is admitted to a local hospital but in precarious condition.

On Tuesday five more people were arrested in the Azam Warsak area in the South Waziristan Agency, close to the Afghan border, when law enforcement agencies raided a religious seminary on the second day of the search operation launched against Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters, believed to be hiding in the tribal agency.

The scout contingents aided by army troops, raided the house and seminary of Maulana Abdul Aziz in the Azam Warsak area and arrested five people. Their names could not be ascertained.

In reaction to the siege and search operation and interrogation of tribesmen carried out by scouts, the traders closed all their shops and businesses as a protest.

An army contingent stationed at the Frontier Constabulary fort in Tank district also moved into the agency to join the search for suspected Taliban, sources said, adding that some intelligence officers, staying in the Chashma Right Bank Canal residential colony, Dera Ismail Khan, had also reached Wana on Tuesday.

The US intelligence officers are interrogating the people arrested in the raids carried out by Pakistan army troops and Tochi Scouts in the Angoor Ada and Biraml areas of the South Waziristan Agency.

The US commandoes and intelligence officers were also interrogating an outlaw and smuggler, Madali Wazir of the Khogalkhel tribe. Madali is said to have been involved in human trafficking during the US sorties on Afghanistan, the source claimed.

He said Madali was arrested by the political administration sometimes back and kept his arrest secret for there were reports about him that in the mid of December last he had taken hefty amount from the Taliban and al-Qaeda men fleeing Afghanistan. Moreover, he had collected some women and children from the Khamrang mountains in the eastern Afghanistan and left them along a ravine near Muhammad Nawaz petrol pump in bordering Pakistani tribal areas and charged them heavily.

It is believed that the Monday operation in the Angoor Ada and Birmal area was an outcome of the information collected from Madali by the US intelligence officers who had reached two weeks ago and were residing in the Scouts Camp Wana.

Reports reaching from the far-flung mountainous area of Shawal say that the army troops and scouts contingents had arrived in the inaccessible areas from Miran Shah, headquarters of North Waziristan Agency, to join the search operation for the suspected terrorists.

Political authorities on Tuesday asked tribesmen in Miran Shah not to carry weapons in the small tribal town. The tribesmen were warned that apart from confiscation of weapons, they may be imprisoned and fined. Although no official reason for the ban has been given but it comes at a time when local people expect the military operation against al-Qaeda anytime. The authoritieshave set up checkposts along all roads leading out of the town and started checking people.

The Pakistan government has decided to deploy armed forces in inaccessible parts of both South and North Waziristan agencies of the tribal areas to prevent infiltration for Afghanistan. Corps Commander Peshawar Lt Gen. Ali Muhammad Jan Orakzai said the troops apart from overseeing development work in the area would patrol the border as well to stop infiltration. The deployment in both the agencies would start today (Wednesday). He said the decision to deploy troops was taken with the consent of local tribes.

Safiullah Gul Pakistan

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