Peshawar, Aug. 8 (ANI): A local lashkar (tribal militia) in Pakistan's Upper Dir region has claimed to have killed at least 167 Taliban militants in last two months.
Two months ago, around 200 villagers formed a lashkar to avenge the June 5 mosque bombing that killed 38 people in Hayagai Sharqai village, the Daily Times reports.
"We started with 200 men and now there are 3,000 people. We have killed 167 Taliban so far in many gunfights helped by the army," said Malik Moatbir Khan, adding that 97 volunteers were also killed.
Although there has been no official confirmation of the lashkar claims, the local militia is fast becoming an alternative to the ill-equipped Pakistan Army that has proved to be ineffective in tribal regions.
The Frontier Corps paramilitary force had no details about death tolls, but confirmed that security forces were cooperating closely with tribal lashkars.
"The local lashkars are helping security forces close in on militants and we have close coordination with them. We are providing them with rations, vehicles and ammunition," a local paramilitary spokesman said.
Meanwhile, the residents of the Swat valley have formed an armed lashkar to fight the Taliban.
The lashkar killed three Taliban on the first day of its operation on Thursday, locals and officials said.
The authorities say lashkars can prevent the Taliban from rebounding in tribal areas, as they can identify local Taliban whom outsiders might not recognise.
"The lashkars are the right type of people who control the markets, control the bus stands and can see who's coming and who's going out," the paramilitary source said.
But experts warn that lashkars could become a threat without proper supervision. (ANI)