Foreigners financing rebels in Waziristan, Balochistan: Sherpao (PAKISTAN)

- Interior minister announces more FC and checkposts in Waziristan   - Says fencing and lying landmines won't stop terrorists from Afghanistan


ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Sherpao has said that the government has "credible evidence" of foreign financing of militants in North Waziristan and Balochistan.

"We have obtained credible evidence that a foreign hand is helping the miscreants in North Waziristan and Balochistan … the operation will continue till its logical end," he told journalists after chairing a meeting on Tuesday about the operations in Miranshah, Mir Ali and other tribal areas.

The interior minister, accompanied by Interior Secretary Syed Kamal Shah and National Crisis Management Cell Chairman Brig Javed Iqbal Cheema, vowed to continue the operation in the tribal areas until "foreign and local terrorists are flushed out". The meeting was also attended by the NWFP inspector general of police and officials of various intelligence agencies.

Sherpao said that the writ of government will be established in the tribal areas "at any cost". He said that the meeting had agreed to deploy more Frontier Constabulary (FC) personnel in the tribal areas. He said that additional check posts will also be established in North Waziristan. The safety of citizens in Tank, Dera Ismail Khan and Bannu will be ensured, he said.

He confirmed the killing of around 50 militants in recent operations in Mir Ali and Miranshah. He said that six security forces personnel had died and 15 were injured.

The minister said that after the initial departure of a few residents from the troubled areas, the political administration had moved to ensure calm.

He said that Afghanistan must cooperate with Pakistan in the war against terrorism instead of questioning its role. "Cooperation should not be unilateral," he said.

About the proposed fencing of the Pak-Afghan border or laying landmines along it, he said that fences and mines will not stop terrorist infiltration from Afghanistan.

The interior minister said that Pakistan had not discussed fencing the border with the Afghan government. Pakistan has established 800 check posts and deployed 75,000 troops along its border with Afghanistan, he said. He said that the Afghan government was not matching this effort to check infiltration.

He said that cross-border infiltration can be resolved with improved intelligence-sharing and cooperation between the two countries' border security forces.

The interior minister said that "lawlessness" prevails in the south and southeast provinces of Afghanistan, including Helmand where "poppy cultivation and illegal arms are rampant".

About the ongoing tussle between Saifur Rehman and Mufti Munir Shakir in Khyber Agency, Sherpao said that the security forces were "vigilant to control the situation".

He said that the two leaders were spreading sectarianism on their radio channels. A tribal jirga will rule on the channels, after which the security forces will take appropriate action, he said.

Von: 06.03.2006, - By Shahzad Raza

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