Pakistan Taliban Warn Displaced Tribesmen Not to Return
    2010-04-30 22:02:13     Xinhua      Web Editor: Jiang Aitao

Pakistani Taliban Friday warned tribesmen who were displaced due to military operation in South Waziristan tribal region not to return home under the army-backed repatriation plan.

Hundreds of thousands of tribesmen from Mehsud tribe have fled homes after the army launched major air and ground offensive in South Waziristan in October last year.

The security forces have expelled Taliban fighters from the region and the authorities have now asked the displaced persons to return. But Mehsud tribesmen have refused to go back unless they are given full assurance of safety and their houses are rebuilt.

Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani announced several times that the repatriation of Mehsud tribesmen will begin in March but it has not happened as the tribesmen are still worried about their safety.

The authorities also seek support from the tribal elders to hand over some 390 wanted militants to the government and that they must support the army's operation against the militants.

The government has called several jirgas, or council of tribal elders, to encourage the Mehsud tribesmen to return homes. But the jirgas have failed as the tribesmen are unwilling to go back.

"It would be a very big mistake and unfortunate if the tribesmen returned under the army-backed plan and if they tried to extend support to the army," Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq said.

"The government wants to use Mehsud tribe as human shield against Taliban," the Taliban spokesman said in a statement released in North Waziristan tribal region.


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