Taliban Miltants and Pakistani Tribesmen Clash After Beheading
PAKISTANI Tribesmen in Islamabad have clashed with Taliban militants, after Taliban militiamen beheaded a local man in public who tried to abduct their chief. 41 people were left dead in confrontations throughout northwest Pakistan on Sunday, it has been revealed.
ISLAMABAD: Tribesmen battled with Taliban militants who beheaded a local militiaman in public and tried to abduct their chief, as clashes across northwest Pakistan left 41 people dead Sunday, officials said.
The government has hailed the emergence of anti-Taliban tribal militias as evidence that it can root out militants waging an insurgency in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The militias, known as lashkars, have been compared to the so-called awakening councils that have helped U.S. forces turn the tables against Al Qaeda in Iraq.
"Our tribal brothers, those who are patriots, have broken" with the militants "and lashkars are fighting against those involved in terrorism," Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani of Pakistan said Sunday.
But there are doubts that the ramshackle militias can face down heavily armed insurgents who have seized swaths of Pakistan's border belt, forged ties with Qaeda and targeted pro-government elders with suicide bombings and kidnappings.Related Articles Pakistani and Afghan Pashtun leaders meet Today in Asia - Pacific 2 Western executives shot and killed in Kabul Ex-leader uses blog to needle Malaysian government To counter problems of global hunger, try spuds
Officials have denied reports that they are arming the militias, although observers suspect that they at least receive government funding.
The botched abduction occurred in Swat, a picturesque valley once popular with tourists, where government forces have been battling militants for more than a year.
The police said a group of assailants were trying to take a militia chief, Pir Samiullah, from his home in the Mandaldag area to a getaway car when dozens of local tribesmen confronted them and snatched him back.
Dilawar Bangash, the Swat police chief, said hundreds of Taliban later returned, seized three members of the militia and beheaded one of them on a road before a large crowd.
A Taliban commander called Mullah Shamsher told onlookers "that this was a lesson for anyone who tried to oppose them," Bangash said, citing accounts gathered later by the police.