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Taliban warn against Pak pact violation

Written by: Staff
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ISLAMABAD, Sep 17: An aide to fugitive Taliban chief Mullah Mohammad Omar warned of ''problems'' in Pakistan's North Waziristan region in case of a violation of a peace pact signed this month, a newspaper reported today.

Pro-Taliban militants and the Pakistani government reached a peace deal on September 5 under which the militants agreed to stop attacks in the country and across the border in Afghanistan in return for a halt in government's operations in the region.

''Violation of the terms of agreement in Waziristan would cause problems and destablise the area,'' The News quoted Mullah Dadullah, Taliban's feared field commander as saying.

Critics say Pakistan government has virtually caved in to the militants' demands and the strategy risked creating a safe haven in North Waziristan for Taliban insurgents, who are fighting the government in Afghanistan, and their al Qaeda allies.

Dadullah did not say whether Taliban would launch attacks in Afghanistan from Pakistani territory but said during a visit to Waziristan three month ago he tried to convince Pakistani Taliban that American troops and their allies be targetted instead of Pakistani troops.

''My argument was that we should fight the US, UK and armies of other Western countries.'' Dadullah, a one-legged veteran fighter who is also a member of 10-man Taliban leadership council, said the Taliban would launch major attacks in Afghanistan in spring.

He claimed that about 500 suicide attackers were at his disposal and ready to launch attacks any time.

Afghanistan is going through its bloodiest phase since the overthrow of the Taliban regime in 2001.

More than 2,400 people have been killed since January, most of them in southern and eastern regions bordering Afghanistan.

Under the terms of the Waziristan treaty, some foreign militants, who were unable to return to their homelands, would be allowed to stay in the region provided they abided by the law.

But government officials say the pact doesn't debar troops from taking surgical action or arresting anyone on a wanted list compiled by the Afghan, Pakistani and US governments.

Hundreds of Pakistani troops and militants have been killed in battles in Waziristan since early 2004.

REUTERS

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