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Curfew lifted after talks with Taliban
Publication Date : 24-12-2013
A curfew imposed after a suicide bomb attack on a mosque near a checkpost and subsequent clashes between militants and security forces in North Waziristan was lifted on Monday following successful talks among the administration, representatives of local Taliban and members of a grand tribal jirga in Miramshah.
According to tribal elders of Mirali, the administration and members of the Taliban shura announced in Miramshah and adjoining villages that a ceasefire had been declared in accordance with a peace agreement signed in 2006.
People who had fled to Spinwam in North Waziristan and adjoining Bannu district in the wake of reported shelling by security forces on Wednesday night were asked to return to their homes.
Maulvi Gul Abbas, an elder from Mirali, quoted Taliban shura spokesman Ahmadullah Ahmadi as saying that all parties, including the administration, Taliban and elders, had agreed to follow the peace deal and to resolve issues in accordance with the agreement.
“There will be no curfew in Miramshah, Mirali and other parts of North Waziristan and displaced people should start coming back to their homes.”
“People hail this announcement,” he said, adding that the local administration had assured the jirga that affected people would be compensated.
Elders of the Utmankhel tribe, members of the Taliban shura and the administration had signed the peace agreement in Miramshah in 2006.
Major points of the agreement included a ban on cross-border movement of armed groups, expulsion of outsiders and foreigners from Waziristan, protection of state installations, return of troops to barracks and rehabilitation of affected people. The agreement was renewed in 2007.
The trouble started after the suicide attack on a mosque the mosque on Wednesday evening and subsequent military action in Mirali bazaar.
The suicide attack left one soldier and a contractor dead and 11 personnel injured, while officials said 34 militants, a number of foreigners among them, were killed in clashes with the security forces.
But Maulvi Gul Abbas denied the official claim and said that around 60 civilians had been killed in shelling on Mirali and adjoining villages.
Residents said a large number of people stranded in Bannu returned to Mirali and nearby villages after the curfew was lifted at 2.30pm.
They said thousands of people were yet to return from Bannu.
Nasir Khan of Hesokhel village near Mirali said the clashes had forced about 70 per cent people of the area to leave their homes and go to Bannu and Spinwam.
He said people of Haiderkhel, Mosaki, Hesokhel, Hurmaz and Eidek had been living with relatives and friends in Bannu.
He said Mirali became a “ghost town” and a large number of people had to leave their villages.
Officials of the Fata Disaster Management Authority said they had no information about displacement of local people.