A jirga held in Bajaur Agency headquarters Khar by the Salarzai tribe has announced a grand tribal lashkar (militia) against suspected militants in the agency, a decision that comes less than one week after the Mamond tribe decided to raise a tribal lashkar to aid security forces in the fight against marauding Taliban militants in the agency.
The Salarzai tribe’s lashkar will patrol the border region between Bajaur Agency and the Afghan province of Kunar, where the government suspects that militants fleeing Operation Zarb-e-Azb have taken shelter.
Tribal elders from all sections and sub-sections of the Salarzai tribe were present at the jirga, as well as sector commander north Brigadier Haider, Political Agent Bajaur Abdul Jabbar Shah and other officials.
The jirga said that the lashkar will operate in Chinar, Banda and Mullah Said and any others where militants are suspected to be present. The lashkar will also establish check posts on the border area of the agency and cooperate with security forces in maintaining peace. The jirga reiterated that no militants would be given shelter here and anyone found guilty of providing shelter will be punished according to tribal custom wherein he will be expelled from the village and his home burned.
Speaking at the jirga, Brigadier Haider said the Salarzai tribe has rendered sacrifices to maintain peace in the agency while Political Agent Abdul Jabbar Shah urged the tribal elders to carry out regular checks in the area so militants may not enter the agency.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2014.