In accordance with the government’s directives, thousands of people from different villages and hamlets of Shalman in Khyber Agency have been shifted to safer places due to an uptick in tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
After the Sewan shrine bombing last Thursday, security forces launched an operation in Shalman area along the border with Afghanistan, targeting hideouts of militants.
A war-like situation in the area has triggered unrest amongst Shalman tribesmen who were only a day back asked through the political administration to vacate the area (for an indefinite period).
Assistant Political Agent for Landi Kotal, Niaz Mohammad along with Political Tehsildar Shamsul Islam, Sunday visited Loyay Shalman and held a detail meeting with members and elders of the tribal jirga. Both the officers discussed in depth the prevailing situation with tribal elders and assured them of help and assistance.
According to Assistant Political Agent Niaz Mohammad, the administration has constituted special teams to prepare a list of people displaced or uprooted in Loyay Shalman, Khola and Sheen Pokh – the villages located on the bank of Kabul River – believed to be harbouring militants from different groups, notably the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and its breakaway faction Jamaat-ul-Ahrar.
The official said that the purpose of the military action against militants was to make safe and secure the country and its people. He said the government respected and was appreciating all those tribesmen who were abandoning their homes for making successful and results-oriented the military action in this part of the tribal belt.
Shamsul Islam, the political tehsildar, while briefing media, said that the exact number of the displaced tribesmen couldn’t be ascertained at this point in time. He however added that hundreds of tribesmen were now on way to safe places. “Most of these families are going to their relatives or friends in surrounding areas. The displacement and registration process is likely to be completed by Monday,” he said.
Meanwhile, the crossing with Afghanistan at Torkham remained closed for every sort of movement for a third consecutive day on Sunday. Thousands of vehicles and people are stranded on either side of the border for the past three days.