Fierce clashes erupt in Jamrud
LANDI KOTAL: Fierce clashes erupted in Jamrud on Wednesday between supporters of the Lashkar-i-Islam and Kukikhel tribesmen after the expiry of a deadline given by the tribesmen to the local administration for the expulsion of Lashkar activists.
Clashes are taking place in Shah Kas, Shaga and Wazir Dhand, close to Peshawar, and both sides are reported to be using heavy weapons.
The highway between Peshawar and Jalalabad remained closed for the third day because of the standoff, suspending fuel supply to Nato forces in Afghanistan.
Acording to an official in Peshawar, NWFP Governor Owais Ahmad Ghani has been in touch with the Political Agent of the Khyber Agency, Tariq Hayat, for restoring order in the area.
Sources said that the Manya Khel, Sher Khan Khel, Katya Khel, Zora Khel, Shah Noor Khel, Mastal Khel and Udredooni clans of the Kukikhel tribe had started the attack.
In a show of strength, hundreds of armed tribesmen demonstrated in Jamrud on Wednesday morning demanding immediate expulsion of Lashkar activists from the Shah Kas area. The tribesmen surrounded the area and set up positions.
They launched the attack at around 6.15pm and Lashkar activists fired back. The clashes were continuing till late in the evening and there are reports that a number of families had started moving to safe places. Sources in Jamrud said that at least two Kukikhel tribesmen had been injured.
Local administration has declared emergency in local hospitals. There are no reports about casualties on the Lashkar side. Paramilitary troops stationed at the Shah Kas Fort had earlier sealed all exit and entry points to the area and intensified patrolling on the road connecting Jamrud with Bara.
Local people said that they had seen helicopters hovering over the area before the start of the gunbattle. Talks were also reported between the local administration and the Commandant of the Mehsud Scouts.
A Kukikhel delegation headed by Senator Hafiz Abdul Malik also met the Political Agent of the Khyber Agency and informed him about the situation.
In another development, gunmen kidnapped a Line Officer of the Bara sub-division along with more than a dozen Khasadar personnel.
The complete article can be found at Dawn News.