Uzbeks outstay Pashtun welcome

Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder reports on fighting that has killed at least 160 people.

    Pashtun tribesman say Uzbek fighters
    carried out atrocities
    Until a few days ago, there was fierce fighting in and around Wana in South Waziristan – but now the ethnic Uzbeks have been driven out of town.
     
    Tribal Pashtuns are looking for Uzbek fighters – once their comrades, now their enemies.
     
    The Pashtuns are famous for their hospitiality – but their Uzbek guests have exhausted their patience.
     
    "We welcomed these people as long as they would abide by our customs but they committed atrocities against our people," said one tribal leader.
     
    Uzbek fighters linked to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan fled here after the US-backed war in Afghanistan six years ago.
     
    At first they were welcomed, but simmering tensions between locals and guests boiled over after Uzbek militiamen fired upon a tribal leader, killing two of his brothers.
     
    More than a hundred Uzbeks and locals died in the fighting which followed.
     
    Prison find
     
    Now Pashtun militia commanders, so often at loggerheads with the distant Pakistan government, have agreed on a ceasefire with the authorities.
     
    And at a tribal council, or loya jirga, they agreed to instead turn their anger on the Uzbeks.
     

    Tribal leaders say boiling water was poured
    down these holes to torture prisoners

    The tribesmen overran a compound used as a prison by the militants.
     
    They say it housed 18 dungeons where Uzbek militants reportedly held 200 local tribesmen.
     
    The tribesman say they found at the prison holes in the ground where Uzbeks poured boiling water to torture their captives.
     
    Others were decapitated - an Uzbek speciality, according to the locals.
     
    Not far away the Pakistan military occupies positions behind the high walls of ancient fortresses.
     
    So far they have waited on the sidelines but people here feel they must now come to the help of the locals.
     
    Pakistani officials say that they will intervene to help the tribesmen if required.
     
    But the conflict is not yet over – and today this remains the Pashtun frontline against Uzbek fighters.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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