After a spate of cross-border attacks by militants on Pakistani border posts, political and military authorities have decided to launch a targeted operation in Mamond tehsil of Bajaur Agency.
The decision has been taken in view of intelligence reports that militants are present in the area, according to the assistant political agent (APA) of Nawagai subdivision, Shah Naseem Khan.
Another official, however, said that the decision to launch a targeted operation was prompted by Friday’s killing of three security personnel in a cross border attack claimed by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
An alliance of political parties also met with Abdul Jabar Shah, the political agent of Bajaur Agency, to seek an assurance that the planned operation would be targeted.
In anticipation of the operation, the political administration has ordered tribesmen in five villages – Ghakhay, Kitkot, Naktar, Gohati and Mula Kallay – near the Pak-Afghan border to evacuate till Monday evening.
“Announcements have been made through the loudspeakers of local mosques, asking the residents to move to other parts of Mamond tehsil and Khar, the headquarters of Bajaur Agency,” said the APA Nawagai. “The evacuation has been ordered to avoid civilian casualties in the operation.
Abdul Haseeb Khan, another political administration official from Mamond, said that two registration points have been set up for vetting the displaced tribesmen. “One point has been established in the Umaray area of Mamond and another at Sadiqabad in Khar,” he added.
Hundreds of families from the villages of Nakhtar, Kitkot, Gohati and Mula Kallay have started evacuating, he said.
The official claimed that security forces have surrounded the target areas and set up multiple new checkpoints near the Pak-Afghan border. “The operation will be targeted against militants – but I can’t say for how long it will continue,” he added.
Malik Sakhi Jan, a tribal elder from Kitkot, said most of the families would have to travel to the Sadiqabad registration point on foot. He said women and children along with aged people would have to walk 24 kilometers to reach the registration point.
Malik Salim, a tribal elder from Gohati village, said most of the tribesmen couldn’t leave their areas on such a short notice and were collecting their household items before moving towards the registration point. He said complete evacuation would take at least two to three days.
Malik complained that no relief work had been started and demanded the government establish relief camps for the displaced families.
Political administration official Haseeb Khan said that relief and medical camps would be set up once the evacuation completes. “At the moment we don’t know the exact number of the displaced tribesmen,” he said, adding that basic facilities would be provided to the people at the camps.
On Sunday night, a security official was wounded when an improvised explosive device (IED) went off in the Kamangara area of Nawagai, said a source in the political administration.
Militants also abducted three peace committee volunteers from Badan tehsil, Wara Mohmand on Sunday night. One of them, identified as Bacha Zareen, was later shot dead while the other two were freed.
The militants had also shot dead a member of a peace militia in Kamar area of Mamond tehsil on Monday.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2014.
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