- Islamabad (PTI) - Thousands
of armed pro-Taliban tribesmen today took over an airstrip in the remote
Pakistani border town of Chilas and broke open a jail in the area releasing
36 prisoners to protest against the military regime's support to the US-led
strikes in Afghanistan.
- The tribesmen who were waiting in the Bahjour agency
in Peshawar to cross over into Afghanistan to join Taliban took control
of the Chilas airstrip to prevent it from being used in the military
against the militia, media reports here said.
- The militia had also told them not to cross over into
Afghanistan until US began the ground battle.
- "The angry protesters have taken control of the
Chilas air strip due to fears that the government might use it in
against the people," Sayed Jafer Shah, a member of the Pakistan's
Northern Areas Legilstative Council from Gilgit was quoted as saying in
the local media here.
- The take over of Chilas airstrip followed the ongoing
blockade of the famous Karakoram highway connecting Pakistan and China
for the past four days by protestors demanding that the government stop
its support of US strikes in Afghanistan.
- Authorities were negotiating with the pro-Taliban men
to unblock four segments of the ancient Silk Route
- Besides taking over the airstrip, the tribesmen have
also taken up positions on both sides of the highway and erected barricades
at different places, a report in the local daily 'The News' said.
- Meanwhile, Taliban told the Jihadi fighters not to join
fighting in Afghanistan till US fielded grounds troops in
- Taliban's Ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zaeef told
reporters here today that time has not yet come for "Muslims of other
countries" to join Taliban in their fight against the American-led
- "We respect the spirit of the Muslims and will not
stop them to come to Afghanistan, who want to wage Jihad but we want to
tell them that time has not come for their arrival as Americans are using
fighter planes to drop bombs," he said.
- On reports that thousands of Pakistani tribesmen have
lined up to join the fighting, he said "Jihad has become obligatory
on Muslims and we will not stop them but the ground battle has not
- Zaeef, who returned from Afghanistan a few days ago,
said Taliban Chief, Mullah Mohammad Omar and Osama Bin Laden were safe
and sound and the opposition Northern Alliance has not been able to achieve
any gains despite heavy US bombing.
- On his latest trip to Kabul, Zaeef said "the cruel
US bombing has added to the miseries of the common people and the civilian
population was falling prey to the bombardment.
- Denying reports that Taliban prevented the civilians
to flee from towns like Kabul and Kandahar, he said "these people
have the right to move elsewhere to be safe."
- On execution of Afghan Commander Abdul Haq by Taliban,
he said, "the US was responsible for the murder as it prompted Haq
to revolt against the Islamic Republic Afghanistan. Two US helicopters
came for his rescue but they failed to deliver".
- Haq tried to engage the Taliban fighters and lot of US
dollars were also recovered from his possession which he could use to win
over the loyalties of some Taliban but he failed and met the worst
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