Number of foreign militants in Paks tribal areas surge to 8000, Gilani told

July 21st, 2008 - 11:29 am ICT by ANI  


Islamabad, July 21 (ANI): In a report presented to Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, it has been claimed that there were around 8000 foreign fighters present in the country, mostly in North and South Waziristan and Bajaur agencies.

The report was presented to the Prime Minister in the presence of PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and Adviser to the Interior Ministry Rehman Malik.

According to the report, the biggest attraction for these young militants from the Middle East, Central Asia and Europe was the increase in the number of US troops in Afghanistan .

A lot of young Muslims were coming to Afghanistan to fight the US troops who, they believed, had come to Afghanistan not to fight terrorism but to occupy more Muslim lands, including Pakistan, and to plunder their resources, The News quoted the report as saying.

Quoting Afghan sources, the report said that these foreign fighters were welcomed not only in the Pakistani tribal areas but also in eastern, southern and western Afghanistan . The rising number of civilian causalities had created lot of hatred and resentment against foreign security forces in these Afghan and Pakistani areas. Angry locals believed that the foreign fighters were coming to avenge these killings.

Most of these foreign militants came as tourists and traders directly from Dushanbe , Baku , Istanbul , Dubai , Sharjah, Delhi and Frankfurt to Kabul by different airlines. Many Afghans in Kabul , Karachi , Dubai and Delhi were working for them as travel agents. Its also very easy to make a new Afghan passport for them in Kabul , added the report.

Through the report, Gilani was also informed that some foreign intelligence agencies were pushing their agents into the Pakistani tribal areas from Afghanistan under the cover of Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters. These under-cover agents are trying to instigate the local population to fight against Pakistani forces as part of a great game in the region, added the paper.

According to Rehman Malik, Gilani and his key ministers will visit Peshawar today for a special meeting, which could decide the launching of a major operation against foreign fighters in FATA. It would be a short and effective operation like the one in Bara recently, The News quoted official sources as saying.

The report also claimed that these foreign fighters avoided getting in touch with non-tribal Pakistani fighters because they suspected them of having links with Pakistani intelligence. Pakistani officials were putting pressure on the Taliban leadership not to encourage foreigners to cross the border into Afghanistan to fight US and NATO troops. The Taliban were also asking them to put down their guns and register themselves with the local political administration.

While some Taliban leaders in North Waziristan have started discouraging foreigners from crossing the border, some in South Waziristan are not ready to listen to the Pakistani government. Their defiance has created a lot of confusion and resentment in Islamabad because the Pakistan government was already under lot of pressure to use heavy force against the Taliban. (ANI)

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