Kurram, Oct 27 (ANI): Pakistan's military has blockaded a strategically important district in the country's north, sealing in a fiercely anti-Taliban tribe.
The Turi community is a bitter enemy of the Taliban, and has been keeping them out of Kurram tribal district, near the Afghan border, the BBC reported.
After Colonel Tausif Akhtar of the Pakistani security forces announced the move on Monday evening at a news conference in Parachinar, the main town in Kurram, five border crossing points- Terimangal, Spina Shaga, Khairlachi, Burki and Shahidano Dand- have been shut, with security beefed up.
"We have done this due to internal security concerns, because there have been sectarian clashes in Kurram and we do not want miscreants from outside to exploit the situation," said Akhtar.
The blockade comes amid reports that the Turis have once again refused to allow the militants to enter Afghanistan via Kurram.
However, many in Kurram suspect that the government is pressurising the Turis to meet Taliban demands to cross their land, as the blockade means that the Turis are hemmed in by the military on one side and by the Taliban on the other.
After the Taliban blockaded the east of Kurram, effectively cutting off the area from the rest of Pakistan, the tribe had been forced to rely on trade with Afghan towns and villages over the border.
But the government decision to block this route, too, now places the Turis under an economic stranglehold, said the BBC.
Last week, Haqqani network members had held talks with Turi leaders in Islamabad in a bid to strike a deal on gaining access to Kurram, it added.
Though the Taliban allegedly offered safe passage for Turis travelling overland from Kurram to Peshawar in return, they reportedly rejected the Taliban approach- for at least the fourth time since 2008.
While the Turis, who follow the Shia branch of Islam, have traditionally abhorred the Taliban, who adhere to a hardline Sunni form of the faith, many Taliban consider Shias to be non-Muslims. (ANI)