Taliban threat looms large for “peaceful” descendants of Alexander the Great in Chitral

June 12th, 2009 - 5:38 pm ICT by ANI  

Taliban Lahore, June 12 (ANI): The Kalash tribe which is considered to be the descendants of Alexander the Great’s soldiers has lived peacefully in the Chitral region of Pakistan for hundreds of years without much interference, but the ever expanding writ of the Taliban is now threatening their years of peaceful autonomy.

The Kalash region in Chitral has hardly felt the impact of the Taliban’s expanding writ, but the fact that the Taliban has taken the neighbouring Dir district under its control is now being seen as threat to their way of life.

It is due to their existence that the region has been largely unaffected by the Taliban’s atrocities, and had become a major tourist attraction in recent times due to its peace and tranquility.

But, now the harmony of the region is being threatened by the ever expanding extremism in the country, a BBC Urdu report said.

With security forces being deployed to fend off the Taliban, the richness and serenity of the Kalash culture is getting affected.

Fears are rife that the Taliban may target a festival of the tribe which would be celebrated in days to come.

Checkpoints litter the road leading to the festival venue, and local hospitals have been put on red alert, The Daily Times reports.

“There is a rumour going around that the Taliban will attack the festival,” Dr Jahangir Khan, a medical officer at the local hospital added.

“There is the situation in Dir, and we are just across the border from Afghanistan. We have been put on 24-hour emergency standby for as long as the festival lasts,” Khan said.

However, the Kalash people are not worried by the increased threat perception, as they are going ahead with their festivities despite the dangers, the report said. (ANI)

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