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In Pictures: Pakistan's troubled Tirah Valley
Displaced in rebel violence, locals return only to find bombed out homes, burnt down schools and destroyed markets.
Last updated: 09 Jul 2014 12:53
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Tirah Valley - a main town of the volatile Khyber tribal area in northern Pakistan - was once a safe haven and a battleground for various armed groups.

It had remained untouched by the government presence until Pakistan's army entered the area in 2003 - first time since her independence in 1947 - to fight the rebels.

The area - remote yet strategic gateway that links Afghanistan's northern corridor to Pakistan - had been a theatre of battles between the Pakistani army and rebels.

Life in Tirah Valley is now returning to a semblance of normalcy, but people are wary of the future.

"At least 1,800 people have been killed in the past one year," says Niaz Khan, a prominent tribal leader in Khyber Agency.

Remnants of the war can still be visible as row upon rows of homes in this mountainous region lay in ruins.

Ghulam Habib, the additional political agent of Khyber Agency, says more than 80,000 people were displaced in March last year alone as a result of the fighting between three main armed groups, the Lashkar-e-Islam, the Ansar-ul-Islam and the Pakistani Taliban.

"At least 30,000 students are out of school here," Ateeq-ur-Rehman, an education officer in the region, told Al Jazeera. He said that many schools were deliberately targeted and bombed by the armed groups.

Minority groups were the worst affected during years of conflict.

Atam Singh from the minority Sikh community said he had not seen fighting like this before.

"I have been living in Tirah for 40 years now, and this past year was by far the worst. Three hundred Sikh families fled the area and had to leave everything behind," Singh told Al Jazeera.

A majority of displaced people have come back to their homes, but they fear that the armed groups may return.


/Wali Khan Shinwari/Al Jazeera

The Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are returning to their houses in Maidan area of Tirah Valley. Officially more than 85,000 people were displaced from Tirah valley due to the military operation and bloody clashes among different banned rebel groups.



/Wali Khan Shinwari/Al Jazeera

Nearly 46,000 people have returned to Bagh area since May this year, as security forces cleared the area of the rebels.



/Wali Khan Shinwari/Al Jazeera

View of the destroyed houses in Tirah Valley close to the Afghan border. About 6,000 houses were believed to have been destroyed in the fighting.



/Wali Khan Shinwari/Al Jazeera

Locals stand on the debris of the house of Mehboob ul Haq, the supreme commander of Ansar ul Islam, which was bombed by Tehrek-e-Taliban Pakistan rebels.



/Wali Khan Shinwari/Al Jazeera

A tribal elder, Sarwar Khan Afridi, surveys the houses which were set ablaze by rebels in the Shalober tribal area.



/Wali Khan Shinwari/Al Jazeera

A local, Arif Mehmmod, sells Naswar (snuff) in a local market. Tirah is known for its high quality snuff production. Snuff is an important part of Pathan culture and is considered hospitable to present best snuff to the guests.



/Wali Khan Shinwari/Al Jazeera

A Pakistani army doctor examines local patients in a camp. Officials have established a medical camp for the affected people in the area.



/Wali Khan Shinwari/Al Jazeera

Security personnel stand guard as a health worker provides polio vaccination to a child in rebel-hit Maidan area. According to the health officials, polio campaign was suspended in the area for several years due to rebel pressure.



/Wali Khan Shinwari/Al Jazeera

Gabeen Afridi, 10, sells vegetables in the market. Gabeen left school after his father was killed in clashes between rebels and now remains the lone bread winner of his family.



/Wali Khan Shinwari/Al Jazeera

Atam Singh, leader of the minority Sikh community at his shop in Bagh Maidan area of Khyber Agency. Singh says 300 families of his community had to leave the area during the fighting.



/Wali Khan Shinwari/Al Jazeera

Niamat Gul, a class three student, in a school previously burned by rebels in Barqamber Khel tribal area. Almost all educational institutes were blasted during years of fighting between armed groups.



/Wali Khan Shinwari/Al Jazeera

A local carries drinking water on a donkey-back in Malakdin Khel area.



/Wali Khan Shinwari/Al Jazeera

Naseem Afridi, 7, sits on the debris of his house that was bombed by the rebels in Zakha Khel area of Tirah Valley. Naseem's parents were killed during the fighting among armed groups.



/Wali Khan Shinwari/Al Jazeera

Children playing near the vehicles set ablaze by the rebels.



/Wali Khan Shinwari/Al Jazeera

Shop keepers are seen in a bombed market, reopened after years of violence in Bagh area.




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images:
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captions:

The Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are returning to their houses in Maidan area of Tirah Valley. Officially more than 85,000 people were displaced from Tirah valley due to the military operation and bloody clashes among different banned rebel groups.

;*;

Nearly 46,000 people have returned to Bagh area since May this year, as security forces cleared the area of the rebels.

;*;

View of the destroyed houses in Tirah Valley close to the Afghan border. About 6,000 houses were believed to have been destroyed in the fighting.

;*;

Locals stand on the debris of the house of Mehboob ul Haq, the supreme commander of Ansar ul Islam, which was bombed by Tehrek-e-Taliban Pakistan rebels.

;*;

A tribal elder, Sarwar Khan Afridi, surveys the houses which were set ablaze by rebels in the Shalober tribal area.

;*;

A local, Arif Mehmmod, sells Naswar (snuff) in a local market. Tirah is known for its high quality snuff production. Snuff is an important part of Pathan culture and is considered hospitable to present best snuff to the guests.

;*;

A Pakistani army doctor examines local patients in a camp. Officials have established a medical camp for the affected people in the area.

;*;

Security personnel stand guard as a health worker provides polio vaccination to a child in rebel-hit Maidan area. According to the health officials, polio campaign was suspended in the area for several years due to rebel pressure.

;*;

Gabeen Afridi, 10, sells vegetables in the market. Gabeen left school after his father was killed in clashes between rebels and now remains the lone bread winner of his family.

;*;

Atam Singh, leader of the minority Sikh community at his shop in Bagh Maidan area of Khyber Agency. Singh says 300 families of his community had to leave the area during the fighting.

;*;

Niamat Gul, a class three student, in a school previously burned by rebels in Barqamber Khel tribal area. Almost all educational institutes were blasted during years of fighting between armed groups.

;*;

A local carries drinking water on a donkey-back in Malakdin Khel area.

;*;

Naseem Afridi, 7, sits on the debris of his house that was bombed by the rebels in Zakha Khel area of Tirah Valley. Naseem(***)s parents were killed during the fighting among armed groups.

;*;

Children playing near the vehicles set ablaze by the rebels.

;*;

Shop keepers are seen in a bombed market, reopened after years of violence in Bagh area.

Daylife ID:
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Photographer:
;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;
Image Source:
Wali Khan Shinwari/Al Jazeera;*;Wali Khan Shinwari/Al Jazeera;*;Wali Khan Shinwari/Al Jazeera;*;Wali Khan Shinwari/Al Jazeera;*;Wali Khan Shinwari/Al Jazeera;*;Wali Khan Shinwari/Al Jazeera;*;Wali Khan Shinwari/Al Jazeera;*;Wali Khan Shinwari/Al Jazeera;*;Wali Khan Shinwari/Al Jazeera;*;Wali Khan Shinwari/Al Jazeera;*;Wali Khan Shinwari/Al Jazeera;*;Wali Khan Shinwari/Al Jazeera;*;Wali Khan Shinwari/Al Jazeera;*;Wali Khan Shinwari/Al Jazeera;*;Wali Khan Shinwari/Al Jazeera
Gallery Source:
Daylife
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