Militants decry attacks against Pakistani military

Militants have long used the North Waziristan tribal area as a base to attack US-led forces in Afghanistan.

Peshawar: Pakistan`s leading militants have
called on fighters to honour an agreement not to attack the
Pakistani military in the most important sanctuary for the
Taliban and al-Qaeda along the Afghan border.

Militants have long used the North Waziristan tribal area
as a base to attack US-led forces in neighbouring Afghanistan.

American officials have accused Pakistan of supporting
some militants in the area, especially the feared Haqqani
network, allegations denied by Islamabad.

The operational chief of the Haqqani network, Sirajuddin
Haqqani, is part of the five-member leadership council that
distributed a pamphlet yesterday ordering militants not to
stage rocket or bomb attacks in North Waziristan.

"In North Waziristan, we are all in agreement with the
Pakistani government, so we are all bound to honor this
agreement and nobody is allowed to violate it," the pamphlet
said. A copy of the document was obtained today.

Anyone who violates the agreement "will dealt with as a
culprit," it said.

The military has targeted militant bases in other tribal
areas along the border, and the pamphlet appeared to be an
attempt by the militants to preserve North Waziristan as a
sanctuary from such offensives.

There have been several rocket and bomb attacks against
the military in North Waziristan since the council was formed
in early January.

Haqqani is the only Afghan militant on the council. The
others are from Pakistan, including the most senior members of
the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud and Waliur Rehman,
and two other prominent commanders, Hafiz Gul Bahadur and
Maulvi Nazir.

The council was set up with the assistance of al-Qaeda and
the Afghan Taliban to work out differences among the
Pakistan-based militants, who have long been split over where
they should focus their fighting.

The Pakistani Taliban have concentrated on toppling the
government in Islamabad, while the other militants on the
council have almost exclusively directed their attacks against
foreign forces in Afghanistan.

The Pakistani military has launched a series of offensives
against the Pakistani Taliban in the northwest.

But it has resisted US demands to launch an operation in
North Waziristan, even though it has approximately 40,000
troops stationed there.