Central & South Asia
Pakistan tribesmen sign peace deal
Tribal leaders on Afghan border pledge not to shelter anti-government fighters.
Last Modified: 09 Mar 2009 16:19 GMT
Five Pakistani soldiers kidnapped in August 
were freed on the eve of the deal. [EPA]

Tribesmen in northwest Pakistan have signed a deal with the authorities promising not to shelter anti-government fighters in the areas on the border with Afghanistan, a local  administration official has said.

Shafirullah Khan said the deal was signed on Monday, a day after Taliban fighters released five Pakistani soldiers kidnapped during a military operation in August.

The 28-point draft plan was signed by tribal elders from Mamoun, the most populous district in the semi-autonomous tribal region of Bajaur, and government officials in Khar, the main town in the area.

"Government and security officials will not be attacked or kidnapped and there will be no restriction on the movement of security forces in Mamoun, Khan said.

Tribal assurance

"Tribal elders assured the government that militants will lay down arms and live peacefully in Mamoun under the deal," Khan added.

"Foreign militants will not be harboured by anyone in Mamoun and rebels will not set up any training camps."

Mamoun is home to around a third of the 900,000 population of Bajaur, as well as several Pakistani Taliban commanders.

Support from local tribesmen was previously divided between those who supported local authorities and those who backed the fighters.

The military had said on February 28 that the Taliban had been defeated in Bajaur.

The semi-autonomous tribal areas in northwest Pakistan became a safe haven for hundreds of anti-government fighters who left Afghanistan when the US invaded the country to oust the Taliban in 2001.

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