Pakistan agrees on a 10-day ceasefire with Al-Qaeda
10/5/2004 12:20:00 PM GMT
Pakistani military and Al Qaeda-linked fighters have agreed to a 10-
day truce to give chance to their tribal allies to negotiate a
peaceful solution, a local administrator said.
"The request for a ceasefire by the Mahsud tribe in South Waziristan
area has been accepted to give the political process a chance,"
local administration chief Ismatullah Gandapur said.
"The security forces will retaliate only if they are attacked."
The Mahsud tribe dominates South Waziristan's troubled towns of
Kanigarram, Sarvakai, Makin and Laddah, scenes of daily clashes
between Pakistani forces and fighters in recent months.
The ceasefire, which came into force late Monday, was negotiated by
a 19-member mediating team of tribal elders and religious scholars
from the region, Gandapur said.
Another top member of the government negotiating team said that
tribesmen had promised not to attack the army or the paramilitary
forces deployed in the area.
"Efforts are also being so the cease-fire, if it is not broken in 10
days, can be extended in the month of Ramadan and in the meantime we
will continue to persuade the tribesmen to surrender militants,"
said the member, on condition of anonymity.
The Muslims fasting month of Ramadan begins in the middle of October.
Mediators will demand tribesmen to deliver or expel foreign Al-Qaeda
fighters hiding in their area or make them register with the local
authorities with a firm pledge to abandon their arms, the official
At least 150 rebels hide in Mahsud
Gandapur also said that an estimated 150 to 200 of the rebels were
thought to be hiding in the Mahsud tribe's region, which is
surrounded by thick forests and high mountains.
Pakistani troops have carried out a series of military operations in
the tribal region to prevent cross-border attacks by Taliban
fighters who have vowed to disrupt the Afghan elections due in
The Pakistani military says that it has killed about 150 foreign
rebels in the region over the past year and destroyed many Al-Qaeda
hideouts and training camps.
Pakistani forces kill four fighters
Earlier, Pakistani forces killed four fighters, including two
foreigners in a tribal region near Afghanistan.
Five Pakistani soldiers were injured and many fighters wounded in
the gunbattle in South Waziristan on Monday, the Pakistani military
said in a statement.
A wave of violence has surged since the military stormed a fighters'
training camp last month, killing about 60 rebels.
Also Monday, a tribal grand council of tribesmen in the area
promised to punish any member found guilty of assisting foreign
"Any tribesman unable to prove his innocence will be punished with a
500,000 rupee ($8,500) fine, eviction from the tribe and will have
his house demolished," said Ahmed Shah, president of a 60-member
committee formed to observe suspicious activity.
The council also called upon the government to halt attacks on
villages, saying innocent women and children were being killed.
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