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Secret accord sheltered Al Qaeda linked militants in tribal Pakistan

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A newspaper in Pakistan this week disclosed the leaked details of a secret agreement between the Pakistani government and certain tribes that allows Al Qaeda-linked militants to remain in North Waziristan, a strategically important region that borders Afghanistan. The move is the latest in a series of negotiations that Western officials worry will strengthen militants.

The agreement, between the government and leading Waziristan tribes, is the first known to directly address the issue of Al Qaeda. The document was signed in February and the Pakistani English-language Daily Times divulged the specifics on Sunday.

In a copy of the agreement made available to Daily Times, Al Qaeda-linked militants have been allowed to live in North Waziristan as long as they pledge to remain peaceful. However, a basic demand of the accord is that all foreigners leave the area. The agreement, inked between the government and the Utmanzai tribes on February 17 to fight Taliban-linked militancy through support from the local population, states that no parallel government of suspected Taliban militants would be tolerated. The Utmanzai tribes have also agreed that there would be no attacks on security personnel or government employees and no target killings would be initiated.

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