Pak Taliban threatens to expel journalists

A Taliban statement has again highlighted the risks, journalists in North Waziristan face.

Islamabad: The dreaded Taliban group in North Waziristan tribal region has threatened to expel those journalists from their controlled areas who are feeding `baseless news` about their leaders.

The threat came a day after reports appeared in a section of the local media that the Taliban faction led by Hafiz Gul Bahadar has asked militants from South Waziristan and other areas to leave North Waziristan.

The reports said Taliban of the Hakimullah Mehsood group left North Waziristan after the ultimatum and moved to Orakzai tribal region.

A Taliban statement released to local correspondents in North Waziristan has again highlighted the risks, journalists in tribal region face, where several of them have been killed while dozens have left homes and settled in other areas.

Bahadar faction had struck a peace deal with the security forces in 2007, which makes it bound not to attack the security forces in North Waziristan.

The security forces and Bahadar group have honoured the agreement over the past five years. But the militants are routinely targeted by the US spy aircraft.

A spokesman for Bahadar group of Taliban dismissed the statement attributed to sources of the group that it has issued ultimatum to militants from other areas to leave North Waziristan.

He said the `Shura-e-Mujahideen of North Waziristan` has not asked anyone to leave the area. The CIA and Afghan authorities consider North Waziristan as launching pad for cross-border attacks into Afghanistan.

Pakistan has been under mounting US pressure to launch operation against the al Qaeda and Taliban militants in North Waziristan. The US said Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network, led by Siraj-ud-Din Haqqani, have also bases in the region and regularly send fighters across the border.

"Enough is enough. We will no more pardon those journalists who will in future circulate baseless news," Ahmadullah Ahmadi, the Bahadar spokesman said.

"We will expel those journalists who pursue yellow journalism," he said, adding, "No journalist involved in propaganda against Hafiz Gul Bahadar would be forgiven."

Threats by Bahadar came a day after locals in Waziristan said that scores of Pakistani Taliban militants have been killed in US airstrikes in Afghanistan after they crossed into Afghanistan and attacked a convoy of foreign troops in the border region.

Those who killed include militants from Bahadar and Mulla Nazir groups of Taliban, as well as militants from Punjabi Taliban, residents in Waziristan region said.


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