Sunday, February 15, 2004

Many aspects of the war on terror are almost but not quite outside our field of vision. This article from the Pakistan Daily Times is about the search for those who killed a Pakistani soldier during the hunt for Al Qaida suspects near the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. It appears the leadership of the major tribe is cooperating at least superficially, but some of the sub-tribes are not. A Pakistani soldier has been killed recently. In close knit networks where neighbors are all closer to each other than the government, collective punishment is sometimes used when it is believed many people know and are hiding the identities of the guilty individuals. Click though to the article and try and guess who is what.

PESHAWAR: Azam Warsak Bazar, the scene of the Army soldier’s killing on Wednesday in South Waziristan Agency, was completely sealed off and tribal police arrested three more men following a crackdown on tribesmen after the incident.

“The market, otherwise jam-packed in routine, looked deserted as tribal police cordoned off the area,” witnesses told Daily Times on the phone from Wana, regional headquarters of South Waziristan Agency. No resistance was offered when locks were being sealed. “The three arrested tribesmen belonged to Yargulkhel and Adakhel sub-tribes,” said a government official, who requested anonymity. The official said one vehicle was impounded while two hotels and five more shops belonging to the two sub-tribes were sealed in Wana Bazar. The authorities have arrested over a dozen suspects from the two tribes and closed more than 600 shops to exercise influence over tribesmen in connection with investigations into the soldier’s killing.

The official said that the two tribes had been asked to turn over the killers. “The crackdown will continue until the tribesmen hand over the killers,” the official said. He said the authorities might take stern action and destroy all shops if the residents did not guarantee that the military personnel and government employees would not be harmed.

Meanwhile, military sources said that that an army operation was in the offing if the Wazir sub-tribes failed to meet the authorities’ demand. Asked to elaborate what the demands were, he said that it was public knowledge and did not need any explanation. “We will start the operation after getting the go-ahead from the administration,” sources said.

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