Saturday, April 21, 2007

Pakistan Tries to Negotiate Peace in Tribal Areas

Here is another report on attempts to bring conditions in the tribal areas under some kind of control, to restrain the cross-border attacks on civilians in Afghanistan. That conditions are as yet not under control seems to be now recognized, or rather admitted, by some officials in Pakistan. We can only hope that these new measures will work.

Voice of America
By Benjamin Sand

"Pakistan is trying a new approach of negotiations and development projects to secure its volatile tribal regions. But U.S. and Afghan officials are concerned it will not be enough to keep Taleban militants from using the area to as a launch pad for attacks in Afghanistan."
"Pakistani authorities this week signed their third peace agreement with local leaders in the often-lawless tribal areas bordering Afghanistan."
"Army spokesman Major General Wahid Arshad says tribesmen in the Bajur region have agreed to sever ties with foreign militants"
" The Bajur deal is part of a new strategy, using negotiations,development projects and other enticements to break ties between area residents and the Taleban."
"Towns and villages all along the rugged area have been overrun by the Islamist hard-liners. Residents say some villages have become little more than jihadist way stations in the fight against U.S. forces in Afghanistan."
"General Arshad says under the new strategy, 80,000 troops in the tribal area will continue to pressure militants, while the government focuses on wooing residents"
"U.S. officials, however, are among those who are not convinced by the new strategy."
"The concern here is more immediate. U.S. defense experts say Taleban insurgents are massing along the border and could be days away from anew offensive against U.S. and Afghan forces."
"Against that backdrop, the latest peace agreement in the tribal areas is likely to generate more concern, not less, about Pakistan's commitment to securing the tribal region"

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