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Pakistani tribesmen organize private armies to fight Taliban

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Pakistan's Taliban might be getting stronger, wreaking havoc along the country's border with Afghanistan, but they are also growing wildly unpopular, inciting their own tribesmen to turn against them.

In the latest of a series of incidents, a lashkar, or private army comprised of Pakistani tribesmen, torched the houses of Taliban commanders in Bajaur, near the Afghan border, vowing to fight them until they are expelled, the Daily Times, a Pakistani newspaper, reports.

Tribesmen in Bajaur Agency's Salarzai tehsil on Sunday formed a private army (lashkar) of around 30,000 people against the local Taliban. A local jirga decided to form the lashkar in the wake of the increasing presence of the local Taliban in the area. The lashkar torched 14 houses, including the house of a local Taliban commander. Tribal elder Malik Munsib Khan, who heads the lashkar, said tribesmen would continue their struggle until the Taliban were expelled from the area, adding that anyone found sheltering Taliban militants would be fined one million [rupees] and his house would be torched. The tribesmen also torched two important centres of the Taliban in the area and gained control of most of the tehsil.
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