Security forces deployed as tribal clash looms in east
JALALABAD (PAN): Thousands of Afghan security forces were deployed in eastern Nangarhar province to prevent a possible bloody clash between two sub-tribes over a longstanding land dispute, police said on Thursday.
Laced with heavy weapons, men belonging to Se Pai and Ali Sherkheil, sub- tribes of Shinwari tribe, had taken positions in bunkers against each other in Shinwari, Acheen and Spin Ghar districts, border police commander, Brig. Gen. Aminullah Amarkhel, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
He said 26000 security personnel had been moved into the area to prevent a possible armed conflict.
The dispute over a deserted land near the border with Pakistan had left many people dead and wounded in the past.
Amarkhel said the two tribes exchanged heavy fire for three times over the past one week, leaving two people injured. Security forces deployed in the area included 600 border policemen, he said.
The official put at 2,000 the number of tribesmen taking position in bunkers, carrying weapons including 82-MM artillery, rockets and others.
The border police commander said the forces were ready to disarm both sides if the central government allowed them to do so.
A jirga also including an official delegation led by President Hamid Karzai advisor on tribal affairs, Asadullah Wahfa, is in the area to resolve the dispute, he said.
Thirteen armoured vehicles were moved to the disputed area, Amarkhel said, fearing the Taliban could take advantage of the situation.
Border police had sealed routes leading to neighbouring Pakistan and security posts on the border had been cautioned to curb militant infiltration.
Wafa later told a press conference that Se Pai tribe was ready for talks, but Alisher tribe remained stuck to its stance.
A tribal elder belonging to Se Pai tribe, Niaz Shinwari, said his tribe had legal document of the land.
Last year, a 250-member jirga demarcated the disputed land, a decision also endorsed by the governor, he recalled.
He said the opposition tribe had established buildings on the land after the demarcation, but when they started the same, they were attacked by Alisheri tribesmen. He accused the governor, Gul Agha Sherzai, of supporting Alisher tribe.
The elder also said their men were ready to cooperate with government forces in resolving the conflict and preventing militants from crossing border into Afghan soil from Pakistan.
A spokesman for the governor, Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, rejected the claim that Sherzai was supporting any of the tribe involved in the dispute.
He said the governor had ordered the deployment of thousands of forces to prevent any untoward situation.
Mulla Jan Shinwari, an elder from the Alisher tribe, said they accepted the jirg's decision last year despite some flaws. He accused the rival tribe of violating the jirga decision, saying they would not allow the jirga to mediate until rival tribesmen were expelled from the disputed land.
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