A peace militia clashed with Taliban militants in Orakzai Agency on the border with Khyber Agency, leaving 10 people dead on both sides, an official said on Saturday.
The clash between members of the peace militia and a Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) group, led by Aslam Farooqi, erupted in Dana Khola, Lower Orakzai, late Friday night. The TTP commander was trying to regroup his loyalists in the area, which prompted resistance from the peace militia volunteers.
Tribesmen in Khyber Agency confirmed the clashes in the border regions of Orakzai and said that 10 people – five militants and as many militiamen – have been killed while fighting is ongoing. But political administration officials are reluctant to comment on the number of casualties. Nevertheless, one official said Khasadar personnel have been sent to the area to bring the situation under control.
Clashes amongst rival groups of militants as well as with the peace militia have become a routine in the tribal belt. Due to Operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan Agency, a large number of militants are now allegedly regrouping in Tirah Valley, which connects Khyber, Orakzai and Kurram agencies. Snow and pine-covered Tirah is also adjacent to the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and is said to be a safe transit route for militants.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 24th, 2014.
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