Tribe close to Taliban signs pact with Pak Govt

A major tribe with close ties to the Pakistani Taliban signed an agreement with the government on Monday to hand over several of the militant group’s leaders......

Written by New York Times | Peshawar | Published: March 11, 2009 1:10 am

A major tribe with close ties to the Pakistani Taliban signed an agreement with the government on Monday to hand over several of the militant group’s leaders,to lay down arms and to stop harbouring foreign militants.

The agreement with the Mamoond tribe,the largest and most strategically placed in the restive Bajaur region,followed a military victory against the local Taliban last month. It was one of the first major successes of the Pakistani forces against the militants since they started operations in the tribal areas in 2003. Taliban forces in Bajaur then declared a unilateral cease-fire and the Mamoond,whose members live on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border,decided to cooperate with the government.

According to the 28-point agreement,a copy of which was made available to The New York Times,the Mamoond will stop harbouring foreign militants and will close down militant training camps.

The agreement also calls for the surrender of senior Taliban leaders in Bajaur,including a deputy,Maulvi Faqir Muhammad,and the group’s chief spokesman,Maulvi Said Muhammad,who also goes by the name Maulvi Omar. The entire Taliban leadership in Bajaur comes from the Mamoond,which has also been accused of harbouring Qaeda operatives.

“It’s the peoples’ victory more than a military success,” Major General Tariq Khan,who led the recent military strikes in Bajaur,told the Pakistani newspaper Dawn.

He promised to clear militants from a remaining small pocket in Bajaur within the next couple of days.

The agreement was signed by tribal elders from the Mamoond and a government representative in Khar.

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