Pakistani Authorities Enlist Support Of Local Pashtoons

Pakistani authorities have made an arrangement with two Pashtoon tribes from Kurram, an autonomous area near the Afghan border, to join efforts in search of Osama bin Laden and his supporters in case any of them should try to hide in the area inhabited by Pashtoons, which is also known as the Pakistani Pashtunistan. According to Pakistan's The News newspaper, the tribes in question -- Chamkani and Musazai -- have delegated 40 soldiers each to join the Pakistani army operation to trace any terrorists that might be hiding in the area. The territory known as Pashtunistan stretches along the entire length of the Pakistani-Afghan border, comprises 7 autonomous areas and is governed by federal authorities. In past years, Islamabad never interfered with domestic affairs of the Pashtoons, who had their Jirgah, or Council of Elders, to settle all problems in accordance with a medieval tribal code known as Pashtunwali. Likewise, these areas were free of Pakistani troops and were instead controlled by local police and self-defence forces. As of this moment however, border areas have admitted regular army units and heavy armor. Air space is controlled by combat helicopters. Special attention is paid to areas bordering on the Afghan province of Nangarhar, specifically the Tora Bora neighborhood, and on Kandahar. For the first time in the country's history, an army brigade has been deployed in Kurram. Apart from that, adds the newspaper, federal authorities paid a handsome sum to Pashtoon elders to enlist them to assist in the search for terrorists.

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