Anti-Taliban lashkar formed in Bajaur; army puts off operation

PESHAWAR: Authorities put off on Wednesday a targeted military operation in Momand Tehsil of Bajaur Agency, which overlooks Afghanistan’s Kunar province and from where the Swat Taliban are attacking army positions, after a tribe assured they would not let the militants use their areas against the country. The move comes after the military ordered the Momand residents on Tuesday to leave their homes, as an anti-Taliban push was imminent. “Momand tribe held a jirga with the military and civilian administration to assure that they would fight together with the forces against the militants,” a senior government official told Daily Times, wishing not to be named. The tribe elders told the authorities that an armed lashkar (group of armed volunteers) would be raised to guard the Momand areas against intrusion by militants. Anyone found guilty of supporting militancy will be expelled and their home demolished, the jirga elders said while announcing punitive measures to win the authorities’ nod for putting off the operation. The targeted military operation was threatened after the Taliban attacked a Pakistani checkpost in Gakhi Pass, killing three soldiers, including an army captain, on July 12. 

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