Safiullah Gul: US spy planes, copters hover Pakistan tribal belt --Bacha Khan settle scores with Zakim khan as US jets bomb Khost

SOUTH WAZIRISTAN: The US spy planes and helicopters have been hovering the Pak-Afghan borders in South Waziristan and North Waziristan agencies, The Federally Administered Tribal Area, for the last five days in search of fugitive Taliban and al-Qaeda members, with Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf assuring the Federal Bureau of Investigation director Robert S. Mueller, who is on a South Asia tour, of Islamabad’s commitment against terrorism.

People from the Angur Ada, Shawool, Alwara and other areas bordering Afghanistan on the Pakistan side have started migrating to other areas as they say that for the last many days they have been seeing spy planes and helicopters coming into the area at night with their searchlights on. They stop at the houses top and after a while leave.

Though there are no reports about any arrests but the people say that they fear US sorties in the area as that carried out in the Zhawar area, 30 km southwest of Khost province, in the eastern Afghanistan.

A well placed source in Wana, the agency headquarters of South Waziristan, said that after strong reports about the fugitive Taliban and al-Qaeda men fleeing Afghanistan and that they have used this area to trickle into Pakistan the US forces had arrested some ten days ago Mossa Dad Khan Kharoti, a renowned Afghan leader and once time staunch supporter of Taliban in Paktika province near Pak-Afghan border, for allegedly harbouring and helping al-Qaeda and toppled militia leaders to flee Afghanistan.

The US troops had picked up Mossa and four of his close aides from his house at Pataogai village in southeastern Afghanistan some 5-km off Pak-Afghan border, in the eastern Afghanistan. The operation was carried out using helicopters in Bormal area of Khost, some 40 kilometres northwest of Wana.

Locals had confirmed that Mossa Dad Khan Kharoti was affiliated with the toppled Taliban and he reportedly used to host the militia and al-Qaeda leaders at his residence, and was also in possession of a satellite phone, which he used to convey messages to the Taliban and al-Qaeda members.

After the capture of Mossa, other prominent Taliban supporters in the area went underground to avoid further arrests. But the present situation, the source said, was the outcome of reports that two men of Mossa Dad had managed to sneak into South Waziristan and were said to have been hiding in the Zerinur area of the tribal belt.

The source also said that there were very strong reports of high Taliban and al-Qaeda officials using the South Waziristan Agency as their escape route as a very prominent religious figure of the area was said to have been supporting the fugitives in their escape during December 9 to 16, 2001.

The source also claimed that nearly 21 foreigners were said to have been made their stay at a local hotel in Wana, known as Khanzada hotel, during this time, but disappeared when the news of nine al-Qaeda men arrested in South Waziristan was made public during the same time.

Under the present circumstances the people of the area were very harassed and had called a meeting the other day to ask the Pakistan government to clear them about the situation else they would shoot at the helicopters, for they were violating their traditional norms.

A source in Miran Shah, the agency headquarters of North Waziristan tribal area, said that heavy contingent of Pakistan army has 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 were present at Datakhel area whereas, 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 in Afghanistan but now they have erected posts near Spinkhwara, close to Saedgi.

The source also said that the US bombing on Chagoti Ghar mountains not far from the Afghan town of Khost province and close to the Pakistani border, in the eastern Afghanistan on Thursday was the outcome of the two Afghan warlords, Zakim Khan and Bacha Khan Zadran, conflict who were vying for the control of military and administration installations.

Though both the leaders were in Kabul but Bacha Khan Zadran had tipped his fighters to settle the score by letting the US jets bomb his rivals as saying that they were al-Qaeda members.

Bacha Khan Zadran had also represented Khost, Pakhtia and Paktika provinces in the Afghan conference at Bonn as governor.

American intelligence authorities say that while al-Qaeda has been disrupted, and a few leaders have been captured and killed, bin Laden himself remains one step ahead of the United States, with the central nervous system of his terror network still intact.

Safiullah Gul PRAVDA.Ru

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