|Four years on, semblance of normalcy returns to Bajaur Agency|
20 October 2012
KHAR / MIRAMSHAH:
The strife-torn Bajaur Agency is limping back to normalcy four years after the military mounted a massive operation against Taliban insurgents in the tribal region. As the first sign, security forces announced on Friday that night-time curfew imposed in May 2008 will be lifted from Saturday (today).
“Since the security forces have restored law and order in the region, the curfew will be lifted on Saturday,” Brigadier Haidar, the sector commander (North) in Bajaur Agency, told the media on Friday. Now, business activities can continue late into the evening, he added.
“Transport facilities will also be available and everyone can move freely in the area,” Brig Haider said. The air of fear lingering for four years has disappeared, he added. “We’ve eliminated extremist elements and the writ of the government has been re-established in the area.”
Akhundzada Chitan, a federal lawmaker from Bajaur, tribal elders, social activists and local political leaders appreciated security forces’ efforts and said that after the lifting of the curfew, businesses would flourish and tribesmen would be able to fulfill their duties at night.
Over in North Waziristan Agency, a security official was killed in a suspected militants’ attack on a security check post on Friday. Security forces also killed two of the attackers in retaliation against the assault on the check post located in Civil Colony in Miramshah, the headquarters of North Waziristan.
Security forces were checking vehicles at the check post when suspected militants riding motorcycles opened fire on them. As a result, one of the security personnel was fatally wounded.
In a quick retaliatory action from troops manning the check post, two of the fleeing militants were also killed. Two passersby – Sadam Khan and Said Wali – were also caught up in the cross-fire and were wounded. They were shifted to the agency headquarters hospital for treatment.
Soon after the firefight, the political administration of Miramshah imposed a curfew around 3pm and security forces mounted a manhunt for the attackers in Machis Camp area, around one kilometre east of Miramshah.
Security forces used helicopter gunships and artillery to target suspected hideouts of militants in the mountainous region. Several families fled the fighting to safer locations.
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