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Monday, 27 July 2009

Movement of US, Nato troops worries Waziristan tribes

The movement of Afghanistan-based US and Nato troops over the past few days close to North and South Waziristan Agencies has frightened tribesmen, who are already under stress due to the increasing number of drone attacks and a possible military operation by the Pakistan Army.

Official and tribal sources informed The News from the border villages of North Waziristan about the unusual movement of what they termed ìhuge numberî of the US and Nato forces along the Pak-Afghan border.

They said the Nato troops were armed with helicopter gunships, tanks and armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and had started establishing camps and checkpoints along the border.

The residents of border villages, including Dwatoi, Kazha Madakhel and Gorweek, said warplanes and helicopter gunships were seen flying over the border areas between the two neighbouring countries throughout the day. In some of the areas, the tribesmen claimed the planes violated Pakistanís airspace and flew over their villages.

Villagers claimed that the US and Nato forces were brought to the border area in 80 vehicles amid tight security.

A military official based in Miramshah, the headquarters of North Waziristan, said they had also received reports about the troop movement but could not confirm it. Wishing not to be named, he said Pakistanís armed forces were fully alert on their posts along the border with Afghanistan. They often come to the border villages inside Afghanistan and return to their bases after some time. More