Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Ahmadzai tribe asks Pakistan government for help

The news that the Ahmadzai tribe in the Tribal Areas want's the Pakistan government to come in and help them establish their affairs is an amazing sign of how much seems to be roiling the tribal areas just now. I only wish we had access to reliable information on what is going on there. Again, these are not "lawless" tribes but tribes who have been allowed to govern their internal affairs according to tribal custom -- which claims to be traditional but no doubt is constantly changing with the times. That the elders of the Ahmadzais would ask for help reveals how responsive they can be to circumstancial pressures, and how likely it could be that some of their practices may be changing.

"One of the main tribes in Pakistan's tense border region with Afghanistan has urged Islamabad to resume control of law and order in the area."
" South Waziristan ... Pakistan ceded control of security to pro-Taleban militants in the area after a controversial 2004 peace deal."
"Critics said it gave Taleban and al-Qaeda militants a safe haven..."
"Pakistan's government maintains that most insurgent attacks in Afghanistan are carried out by militants based in that country."
"President Musharraf sent troops into the lawless tribal area to hunt foreign militants and ... More than 700 Pakistani security personnel have been killed since 2002, prompting the government to negotiate the contentious peace deals ... troops were to maintain a reduced presence and tribesmen promised either not to harbour foreign fighters or to ensure they did not engage in militancy."
"But at a meeting on Sunday, the Ahmadzai Wazir tribe reversed the deal and undertook not to shelter Uzbek militants and their supporters..."
"The government has not yet responded to the tribesmen's appeal, but admitted publicly last week that troops were backing local Pashtuns against the Uzbeks."
"The army had until then denied any role in the fighting, saying locals had risen up to drive out foreigners..."
"The authorities say fighting broke out after tribesmen accused Uzbek militants of criminal behaviour."

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