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Waziristan Ceasefire Reported

In the ongoing fighting in recent days between South Waziristan local tribes and Uzbek al-Qaeda fighters, Pakistan's Daily Times is reporting a temporary ceasefire. temporary ceasefire. About 130 have been killed thus far in a sudden hot conflict between the Uzbeks and locals. How long the ceasefire will hold is anyone's guess, as at least on Taliban leader, Maulvi Nazir, is quite reluctant to ease the pressure on the Uzbeks.

Tribal sources said that Maulvi Nazir, commander of pro-Taliban tribal militants in Wazir areas, at one point was unwilling to negotiate a ceasefire with foreign militants and their local harbourers. “The jirga members convinced him after hours-long parleys,” said sources in Dera Ismail Khan city, 200 miles south of Peshawar.

Security officials in Tank city said that pro-Maulvi Nazir militants on Thursday ambushed two vehicles carrying 12 Uzbek militants, killing six of them in Zarmilan, 35 kilometres south of Wana....

...Maulvi Nazir was quoted as saying that the foreign militants would be provided shelter as refugees only after they “disarmed” themselves.

“There can be no other arrangement as far as the foreigners’ stay in (South) Waziristan is concerned,” he told a group of elders who visited him near Wana on Wednesday.

While some reports suggest that the fighting is between the Taliban-loyal tribal leaders and al-Qaeda - including Arab al-Qaeda forces - this should be met with some caution, as local Pakistani coverge describe the conflict nearly exclusively as waged against Uzbek foreigners, not 'foreigners' in general.

Washington Post report stated early in the article that "Local Pashtun tribe members -- including many Taliban supporters -- have squared off against Uzbek, Chechen and Arab militants..." Yet, at the end of the report, a Pakistani MP representing South Waziristan stated the fighting as essentially against Uzbeks.
Uzbek militants had already beheaded a number of local people, according to Maulana Mairajuddin, a member of a far-right religious party who represents South Waziristan in Parliament.

Mairajuddin -- who spoke by satellite phone from Wana, a town where much of the violence has taken place -- said the fighting this week started with the abduction of four local women by the Uzbeks. Mairajuddin said he wished locals and the foreigners would stop fighting each other and return to battling U.S. and allied troops in Afghanistan.

"This is the worst news for those who hate the occupation of foreign forces in neighboring Afghanistan," he said.

Readers should consider reports of a general rift between al-Qaeda and the Taliban with caution, as that does not appear the case at all.