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US to help Pak stem Talibanisation

The US has pledged 3.5 million dollars to help Islamabad stem the tide of Talibanisation in northwestern Pakistan province.

india Updated: Aug 05, 2006 14:41 IST

Amidst reports that a new pro-Taliban outfit was issuing 'fatwas' to local people in a northwestern Pakistani province, the US has pledged 3.5 million dollars to help Islamabad stem the tide of "Talibanisation".

The bulk of aid would be spent on purchase of non-lethal equipment, construction of paramilitary posts along the border of the tribal regions of North and South Waziristan with the settled districts of North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

The aid pledge was made in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between US Ambassador to Pakistan Ryan C Crocker and Commandant Frontier Constabulary Malik Naveed Khan, Dawn daily reported.

The United States has given assistance to Pakistan Army and the Frontier Corps deployed in the tribal region to deal with rising militancy and cross-border infiltration into Afghanistan.

But this is the first time that the Frontier Constabulary, a civil armed force operating essentially as a buffer paramilitary force between the tribal region and the settled districts of the NWFP, has become the recipient of US largesse.

The aid follow reports in the national and international media over the spread of an outfit called 'Pakistan Taliban' whose self-styled Taliban commanders have begun issuing 'fatwas' to local people asking men to grow beards, women to wear burquas and banning music even during marriage ceremonies.

Out of the total amount, one million dollars would be spent on construction of new posts and repair and reconstruction of the existing run-down posts along the tribal borders.

The remaining $2.5 million would be spent on the purchase of vehicles, bullet proof vests, night vision devices and electronic jamming equipment.

Officials said that it was after a spate of incidents in Tank, Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan areas involving militants operating in North and South Waziristan that President Pervez Musharraf in a high-level meeting in May ordered the Frontier Constabulary platoons to return to the region by June, 2007.

Naveed Khan said that 44 platoons had been deployed in the existing 33 posts while 16 new posts were being established to strengthen security along the NWFP's borders with North and South Waziristan tribal regions.

"It is a daunting task but we are determined to do that," he said.