Taliban remain deadly threat in Peshawar despite Pak Army’s ‘purging’ claims

Monday, October 18, 2010

PESHAWAR - Although the Pakistani military claims it has been eliminating the Taliban presence in the Peshawar Frontier Regions (FR), the locals there have little hope, as following the end of earlier operations, the Taliban had regained control of the area.

Locals, on the condition of anonymity, revealed that subordinates of Tariq Afridi, who was leading the Taliban in the Peshawar FR, had still been threatening people and warning them against cooperating with the security forces, the Daily Times reported.

On September 19, the security forces had launched an operation in the area in which more than 52 terrorists had been killed.

Due to the fear of the Taliban’s return to the area, about 65 percent of the displaced people were unwilling to return to their homes, with the locals claiming that they had not seen even one terrorist’s dead body. They believe that the Taliban are still alive and had merely escaped to the nearby hills once the operation began.

Like other residents of the area, Adezai Peace Lashkar chief Dilawar Khan has demanded that the government establish permanent paramilitary checkposts at the Pakha Bareeza area, an entering point for the Taliban from the tribal region, otherwise there would be insecurity all around and the operation would prove to be a futile exercise.

Dilawar said that although the security operation against the Taliban had been effective, with around 90 militants killed, but the forces had once again left the entry points unguarded, from where the Taliban could reenter and launch attacks.

The government lacked long-term planning to secure the borders along Peshawar, he added.

He alleged that the Taliban were challenging the writ of the state in FR, and had been forcing women to wear different types of burqas, which distinguished them on the basis of their age and marital status.

The chief also claimed that the terrorist group had also been forcing local girls to marry their fighters, and had ordered residents to keep their doors open at night. (ANI)

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