Pakistan: Taliban stage comeback in Bajaur region
Tribesmen in Bajaur`s Salarzai subdivision said they heard the Taliban`s FM channel after a long time on Thursday.
Islamabad: Months after the Pakistani Army declared that the Taliban had been flushed out of Bajaur, the outfit`s militants have resurfaced in the insurgency-hit tribal region and resumed broadcasts on their illegal FM radio channel warning the women against casting votes.
Tribesmen in Bajaur`s Salarzai subdivision said they heard the Taliban`s FM channel after a long time yesterday, The News daily reported today.
"We are back in Bajaur and would like to warn women to refrain from acquiring the computerised national identity cards and casting votes, otherwise they will pay the price," Taliban commander Maulvi Gul was quoted as saying by a tribesman.
The tribesman said the broadcast included `jihadi` songs and threatening speeches by the Taliban.
Other tribesmen too confirmed that the Taliban`s FM channel was again being heard in Bajaur tribal agency.
They said the Taliban militants were reportedly seen addressing funeral ceremonies in remote and mountainous villages of Salarzai sub-division of Bajaur.
Besides Salarzai, the Taliban`s FM broadcasts were heard in parts of Utmankhel and even in the sub-division of Khar, which is the headquarters of Bajaur.
"People thought the Taliban are gone and would never come back after the military operation against them by the Pakistan Army, but they seem to have staged a comeback by resuming broadcasts on their FM radio. It has caused concern among the people," said Mohammad Daud, a resident of Khar.
The military had earlier said the Taliban had been flushed out of Bajaur and that the militants had sought refuge across the border in Kunar province of Afghanistan.
In the past, the Taliban had used illegal FM radio stations to spread propaganda and issue `fatwas` in areas like the Swat Valley.
Maulana Fazlullah, the former commander of the Taliban in Swat, was known as "Mullah Radio" for his fiery sermons on his illegal FM channel.