The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pak seals Afghan passes

Islamabad, June 24: Pakistan’s radical Islamic parties today denounced an ongoing military operation in a north-western tribal region, as authorities said government troops had secured almost all passes to block the entry of fugitives from Afghanistan.

One Pakistani soldier was killed and another wounded in an exchange of gunfire with some resisting tribesmen yesterday when troops were deployed in the Mohmand tribal region in an operation coordinated with US and Afghan forces active on the Afghan side.

“The operation is dangerous for the country as it constitutes a violation of long standing agreement with tribesmen not to encroach upon their special status,” warned Hafiz Hussain Ahmed, a leader of Pakistan’s powerful Islamic alliance Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA). Ahmed said the operation topped the agenda of the alliance’s leadership council meeting yesterday in Peshawar, capital of North West Frontier Province which is ruled by the alliance. The meeting participants agreed that the operation had the potential to destabilise the entire tribal region and posed dangers.

“Any uprising against operations jointly sponsored by the US could spread to the entire tribal belt which will weaken country’s ability to defend its eastern border with India.”

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