Related articles on LUBP:
Our friends Marvi Sirmed and TLW have recently appealed to highlight the nexus of the ISI and Taliban against Shias of the Kurram agency as a part of Pakistan Army’s greater game in the region.
Here is a link to TLW’s excellent post on this topic:
TLW asked us to publicise the strange deal the khakis are trying to broker (force) between the Turi’s and Jalaludin Haqqani, under the threat of an invasion from Orakzai by Mullah Noor Jamal. Not only is it blackmail, a deal by the Turis with Haqqani would weaken them and lay them ready for further killings. The Taliban and the Army are blocking the Turi’s access to Peshawar from Parachinar, forcing them to go through Afghanistan. How to get the army to lift the barricade they’ve put on the Turis? There is a need to publicise this deal and put pressure on the Pakistan Army to cut ties with the Haqqanis, or go after the Maulvi Noor Jamals. Or at the minimum, transfer military protection to the Turis and act as a buffer between them (Shia Turis) and the (Deobandi) Bangashes.
This is what Marvi Sirmed, a journalist said on twitter:
According to another commenter on Express Tribune:
Kurram is strategically the most important tribal agency. Thanks to the brave shia tribesmen Taliban barbarians have not been able to take control of Kurram so far. That is why shia areas are under the siege from three sides by talibans and paksitani military. Pakistani military establishment after receiving heat from US for its lack of action in N. Waziristan now wants safe passage through Kurram. It is not the shia tribesmen who approached Haqqani group, it was the intelligence agencies of pakistan who are trying to mediate some settlement so that when fake N.Waziristan operation starts they can relocate Talibans to Kurram and onwards to Afghanistan. (Source)
According to Pakistan Security Brief by the Critical Threats website:
On Monday, Colonel Tausif Akhtar announced that the Pakistani military has blockaded five points of entry into Kurram Agency while the Taliban responded by sealing off major entrances from the opposite side of the agency. The closures have effectively isolated the Turi people, an anti-Taliban Shia tribal group. The Turis ousted the Haqqani network from Kurram following a major battle in 2008 and the group recently announced that it would refuse to allow Afghan militants to cross the border into Pakistan. Colonel Akhtar stated that the agency was sealed off due to sectarian clashes that the military did not want “miscreants from outside to exploit the situation.”
According to ABNA, a Shiite news agency:
While the paths of the Shia region of Parachinar to the interior part of Pakistan are closed and insecure, Pakistan’s military has blockaded a strategically important district in the country’s north and because of that there is no way to enter the food, fuel and medicine to the region.
After Colonel Tausif Akhtar of the Pakistani security forces announced the move on Monday evening at a news conference in Parachinar, the main town in Kurram – Kurram tribal district, near the Afghan border-, five border crossing points- Terimangal, Spina Shaga, Khairlachi, Burki and Shahidano Dand- have been shut, with security beefed up.
“We have done this due to internal security concerns, because there have been sectarian clashes in Kurram and we do not want miscreants from outside to exploit the situation,” said Akhtar.
The blockade comes amid reports that the Turis have once again refused to allow the militants to enter Afghanistan via Kurram. But by this, the only way of entering the food, fuel and medicine to the region is blocked.
Tausif Akhtar is notorious among Shia Muslims of the region; he has killed and kidnapped many Shia.
“Colonel Tausif Akhtar is a big liar. What he’s done is not to bring the security to the region, but to torture and hurt Shia in Parachinar. The government enters some amount of food to Parachinar, but it’s not enough for the people, so we have to get most of our food from Afghanistan. I believe the government blocked the border to bring Shia to their knees.” A Parachinari Shia told ABNA.
“By this, they blocked the only way to enter the food for Shia in Parachinar. After the victory of Shia over Taliban in Shaluzan and Khivas, it’s a trick by Colonel Tausif Akhtar for Shia to make them tired and bring them to their knees and do whatever he wants to, but we don’t.” Another Parachinari Shia told ABNA.
It should be mentioned that, it’s more than 4 years that all the paths to Parachinar is blocked and people have to use Afghanistan land to take to other cities of Pakistan. If the border remains blocked, by approaching the cold season in Kurram Agency, we should predict a new disaster against Shia in the region.
Here is a recent report from BBC:
Pakistan’s military has blockaded a strategically important district in the country’s north, sealing in a fiercely anti-Taliban tribe.
The Turi people have been keeping Taliban militants out of Kurram tribal district, near the Afghan border.
Many in Kurram suspect the government is pressurising the Turis to meet Taliban demands to cross their land.
Any deal between the Turis and the Taliban could have major implications for Nato’s operations in Afghanistan.
The Turis, who follow the Shia branch of Islam, have traditionally abhorred the Taliban, who adhere to a hardline Deobandi (a sub-sect of Sunni) form of the faith. Many Deobandis (Taliban and Sipah-e-Sahaba) consider Shias to be non-Muslims.
The blockade comes amid reports that the Turis have once again refused to allow the militants to enter Afghanistan via Kurram.
The Taliban have been trying to launch operations around Kabul through the district, whose western tip lies just 90km (56 miles) from the Afghan capital.
The blockade means that the Turis are hemmed in by the military on one side and by the Taliban on the other.
Col Tausif Akhtar, of the Pakistani security forces, announced the move on Monday evening at a news conference in Parachinar, the main town in Kurram.
Five border crossing points – Terimangal, Spina Shaga, Khairlachi, Burki and Shahidano Dand – have been shut, with security beefed up.
“We have done this due to internal security concerns, because there have been sectarian clashes in Kurram and we do not want miscreants from outside to exploit the situation,” Col Akhtar told the BBC News website.
But the BBC’s M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad, one of the few journalists to have travelled to Kurram in recent months, says the move is baffling.
The Turis have kept members of the Haqqani network – a branch of the Afghan Taliban based in Pakistan – away from Kurram.
The Turi community have had to defend themselves from Taliban attacks.
The tribe beat the militants out of the area during a major battle in September 2008.
In retaliation, the Taliban have blockaded the east of Kurram, effectively cutting off the area from the rest of Pakistan. The militants have been ambushing Turi commuters along a 10km stretch of road.
The tribe has been forced to rely on trade with Afghan towns and villages over the border.
But the government decision to block this route, too, places the Turis under an economic stranglehold, says our correspondent.
Haqqani network members last week held talks with Turi leaders in Islamabad about striking a deal for access to Kurram.
In return, the Taliban is thought to be offering safe passage for Turis travelling overland from Kurram to Peshawar.
But the Turis reportedly rejected the Taliban approach – for at least the fourth time since 2008