Thousands attend militant’s funeral in Waziristan
MIRANSHAH: Chanting slogans against America, thousands of mourners gathered in a Pakistani border town on Wednesday to bury an Islamic militant they claimed was killed in a clash between Taliban militants and American forces inside Afghanistan, witnesses said.
The US military, however, said it had no reports of fighting in the area of eastern Afghanistan where the Pakistani man, Akhtar Zaman, had purportedly died.
The funeral was held in Sarobi, a town in the North Waziristan tribal region, opposite the Afghan province of Khost. Mourners also chanted slogans in support Taliban-led militants that have stepped resistance in Afghanistan in recent weeks.
“Down with America! God is Great! We are with mujahedeen!” mourners shouted, according to residents of the town, who estimated about 6,000 people attended the funeral. There were no reports of violence.
Afsan Hassan, a resident, said that mourners had heard that Zaman was among 13 people, including five Pakistanis, killed in a militant clash with US forces on Tuesday in Khost province.
But in Kabul, US military spokeswoman Lt Cindy Moore said there had been no reports of fighting in Khost.
Many Pakistanis travelled to fight with the Taliban before its ouster by US led forces in late 2001, and the rebels are often believed to seek sanctuary on the Pakistan side of border.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the anti-American sentiment at the funeral was related to the anger that has surfaced in Pakistan and Afghanistan in recent days over alleged desecration of Islam’s holy book by US military interrogators at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. ap