Safiullah Gul: Lethal arms fall into rogue elements’ hands

PESHAWAR: Some irresponsible elements in eastern Afghanistan have managed to get hold of a large cache of destructive weapons from Taliban and al-Qaeda fugitives, fueling fears of bloodshed in tribal feuds.

Reliable sources in South Waziristan told The Statesman that reports pouring in from across the Pakistan western borders suggest that the al-Qaeda and Taliban forces were in possession of these lethal arms, but after going into hiding due to continuous US-led bombing, the unstable elements succeeded in getting them.

The sources claimed it is believed that many of the weapons were pulled out of the Zhawar Killi area, some 30 kilometers southwest of Khost, in the eastern Afghanistan, before the US bombers and Marines could either destroy or lift the arms. The US troops, the source added, had however airlifted a major portion of the dumped weapons.

The Zhawar Killi area was the home to former Taliban leader Haqqani and had a network of tunnels and bunkers, built during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Though the US bombers and troops had either leveled any possible al-Qaeda construction or closed the openings of these caves, tunnels and bunkers, but somehow the Taliban and al-Qaeda men were able to get away with some of the ammunitions

The sources said that the fleeing al-Qaeda men had taken refuge with the people in the area who had promised them safety. Some of them went into the hands of irresponsible elements who were eyeing their expensive vehicles and sophisticated weapons.

The sources, giving details about the weapons, said that they include 19 stinger missiles, uranium and other nuclear material, and two long range missiles with their launching pads.

The Afghan elements who have managed to get hold of the weapons, the sources claimed, had even established contacts with some neighbouring country for their sale. However further details were not available.

The sources said that some people in the North and South Waziristan were seeing the massive presence of Pakistan army troops in the tribal belt as an outcome of such reports.

A very large number of troops had taken control of the Angur Ada, Shawool and Alwara villages, whereas the South Waziristan Scouts were also assisting the army, the source went on to say.

A source in Miran Shah, the agency headquarters of North Waziristan, said that heavy contingent of Pakistan army have taken control of the border check-posts and possible infiltrating routes. The army had also sealed the Hassankhel and Bangidur check-posts, which were used by the smugglers.

The source said that a large number of Pakistan army troops was present at Datakhel area whereas, the Madakhel, Khaderkhel, Alwara, Margha, Zhawaisaedgi and Dwaisaedgi were also taken under control. On the other side of the border earlier the US troops had left the area of Zhawar killi area in Afghanistan but now they have erected posts near Spinkhwara, close to Saedgi.

Meanwhile, the US planes and helicopters, which used to have been whizzing the area for many days during the night, were not seen for the last two days.

The sources said that the nocturnal operations in Wana, which were aimed at chasing Taliban activists and al-Qaeda acolytes whom, the US suspects, are hiding in these secluded towns, ended as two of the Afghans known as "Kandahari Maulvis" were missing.

They said that there were rumours that the "Kandahari Maulvis" were the ones who were being chased by the US troops as the two men of Moosa Dad Kharoti and were either arrested by the troops or went underground.

Safiullah Gul PRAVDA.Ru

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