Another tribesman surrenders
* Canadian Qaeda financier may be hiding here
By Iqbal Khattak
PESHAWAR: Another Waziri tribesman wanted for allegedly sheltering Al Qaeda militants surrendered to the political administration of South Waziristan Agency in Wana on Thursday.
Administration sources told Daily Times from Wana, the regional headquarters of South Waziristan, that Noor Islam of the Dassikhel sub-tribe surrendered and was immediately taken to an undisclosed location where a joint interrogation team of security agencies began questioning him.
The administration responded to his surrender by releasing of 26 men of his sub-tribe arrested in a weeklong crackdown against several Waziri sub-tribes for sheltering Al Qaeda elements in their houses.
South Waziristan Agency deputy administrator Anwar Ali Shah confirmed Mr Islam’s surrender, and the release of Dassikhel tribesmen. “We also allowed the sub-tribe to reopen their business centres and returned their impounded vehicles,” he told Daily Times from Wana by phone.
The administration crackdown came a week after an October 2 Army operation in the Baghar area, less than two kilometres from the border town of Angore Adda, in which eight Al Qaeda suspects were killed and 18 arrested.
Waziri sub-tribes had handed over a wanted man on each of the last three days. However, the “four most wanted men on the list” - Neik Muhammad and Muhammad Sharif of the Yargulkhel sub-tribe and Abbas and Nazir of the Kakakhel sub-tribe – were still at large, tribal sources said. “The US, particularly, wants these four men arrested because they can provide significant leads about the Al Qaeda presence in South Waziristan Agency,” they said.
The four men fought with the Mujahideen during the US-backed Afghan jihad against Soviet forces and developed close ties with Al Qaeda during the Taliban regime, sources said. “They know much about senior Al Qaeda officials.”
The political administration is still negotiating with the Zalikhel sub-tribe for two men wanted for harbouring Al Qaeda militants.
Reuters adds: Pakistani security agencies are trying to track down a Canadian believed to be an Al Qaeda financier who escaped the October 2 raid near the Afghan border, intelligence officials said on Thursday.
An intelligence official said the Egyptian-born Canadian identified as Ahmed Said Khadr, alias Abu Abdur Rehman, nicknamed Al-Canadi, was thought to be hiding in one of the mud-built houses when the raid was launched but slipped away.
“He was expected to be there but somehow got away before the operation,” the official told Reuters.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) website quoted the Islamic Observation Centre in London as saying that Mr Khadr and his teenage son were killed in the raid, but the Pakistani officials said that only Mr Khadr’s son was killed and he himself was alive.
Canadian High Commission officials in Islamabad were not immediately available for comment.
Pakistani intelligence officials said Mr Khadr had helped organise attacks on a small US base at Shkin in Afghanistan.