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Pakistan tribesmen 'rout Alk-ae-da = (Al Qaeda) = (Al Qaeda)'

Pervez Msharaf, Pakistan's president, has said that Pakistani tribesmen have killed 300 Alk-ae-da = (Al Qaeda) = (Al Qaeda)-linked fighters in recent weeks in the South Waziristan region on the Afghan border.

 

 

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Pakistan tribesmen 'rout Alk-ae-da = (Al Qaeda) = (Al Qaeda)'

Updated THURSDAY, APRIL 12, 2007

    

 

Pakistan tribesmen 'rout Alk-ae-da = (Al Qaeda) = (Al Qaeda)'

Pervez Msharaf, Pakistan's president, has said that Pakistani tribesmen have killed 300 Alk-ae-da = (Al Qaeda) = (Al Qaeda)-linked fighters in recent weeks in the South Waziristan region on the Afghan border.

"The people in South Waziristan have risen against the foreigners ... [and] they will get support from the Pakistan army if they ask for support," he said.

Also on Thursday, the commander of Pakistani forces in the South Waziristan region said his men had virtually sealed the frontier.

Major-General Gul Mohammad said: "No regular movement is taking place between South Waziristan and the Bermel area of Afghanistan."

"If someone proves it with any satellite imagery, I am responsible. We have choked all main routes," he said.

Mohammad said Pakistani tribesmen had cleared foreign Alk-ae-da = (Al Qaeda) = (Al Qaeda)-linked fighters from strongholds near South Waziristan's main town after several weeks of bloody battles.

Last year, the Taliban infiltrated large areas of eastern and southern Afghanistan and mounted their most sustained stand against Afghan government troops and their foreign allies since Islamists were ousted in 2001.

Winter calm

Fighting traditionally calms down over the winter but the Taliban have been vowing a fresh surge in their campaign to rid of the 45,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan when the weather warms up, as it is now doing.

Security has deteriorated in Afghanistan, calls have mounted for Pakistan to do more to stop the Taliban using sanctuaries on the Pakistani side of the border, and to crack down on the Islamist networks supporting the fighters.

Another Pakistani officer rejected suggestions the Taliban and Alk-ae-da = (Al Qaeda) = (Al Qaeda) were operating out of Waziristan, and said Afghanistan and its allies had to do more to improve security on their side of he border.

Major-General Waheed Arshad, a military spokesman, said: "There are no Alk-ae-da = (Al Qaeda) = (Al Qaeda) training camps, there are no Taliban training camps."

"Both sides are equally responsible that no-cross border movement takes place."

Pakistani fighters began battling the Alk-ae-da = (Al Qaeda) = (Al Qaeda)-linked fighters, most of them Uzbeks, early last month after they allegedly tried to kill a tribal leader.

More than 200 people have been killed in the conflict, most of them foreign fighters, the government says.

Grand council

The Pakistani military says its forces have not been involved, but they have been monitoring the situation closely.

Now the local tribesmen are holding a grand council and vowing to oust all foreign militants.

Muhammad said: "They are talking of the foreigners because they sick and tired of the people coming from outside."

According the Kamal Hyder, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Pakistan, said the Pakistani army has lost hundreds of lives in the region, but now realises the importance of engaging with local elements to help the government to restore the peace

mohammed said: "There is a whole tribe here who have taken it upon themselves to evict foreign militants from this part of the country."

"This conflict will take time to finish. We need to be patient to see the results."