Taliban talks with rival Kurram tribe to access strategic Af-Pak border areas

Islamabad, Oct 29 (ANI): The Taliban is negotiating a peace deal with the rival Kurram tribe to gain access to remote strategic areas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

"We are holding talks to end violence and fighting in the region. People have become fed up with fighting," the Dawn quoted Sajid Hussain, a Member of Parliament involved in the talks, as saying, to a news agency.

Hundreds of people have been killed in clashes between the Turi tribe in the Kurram region and their Taliban-backed enemies in recent months.

The deal, which has not yet been finalised, could lead to a lifting of the siege of the Turi tribe and release of its members kidnapped by the militants and their allies.

Tribal sources said the militants are likely to demand the use of roads passing through their territory to the Afghan border, though Hussain said the Taliban had not yet made the demand so far.

"Even if they do so, we will not accept it," Hussain maintained.

Talk of a deal between the Haqqani network and the Turi tribe is likely to raise concern the United States, which has been demanding that Pakistan get tough with militants fighting Western forces in Afghanistan.

The Turi community is a bitter enemy of the Taliban, and has been keeping them out of the Kurram tribal district, which lies near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

While the Turis, who follow the Shia branch of Islam, have traditionally abhorred the Taliban, who adhere to hardline Sunni form of the faith, many Taliban consider Shias to be non-Muslims. (ANI)

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