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Taliban Trying To Re-Establish Footprint In Buner

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PESHAWAR: A new faction of Taliban has emerged in Buner district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and they are issuing threats to the locals and senior government officers based in Elum Ghar area adjacent to Swat.

The Taliban faction, led by Azizur Rehman and 12 others, has been demanding extortion money from wealthy people in Buner, according to sources.

They have threatened a civil judge and magistrate through a letter delivered to the district court.

The letter written in Pashto read that judges are part of the infidel government system and they can only save their lives by quitting their jobs. The letter warned the locals that Taliban Malakand faction has resumed operations and would target those who have received their letters.

According KP Inspector General of Police (IGP) Naeem Khan, at least seven to 12 Taliban factions are active in the area, adding that they would be brought down soon.

KP police has identified the suspected commander Azizur Rehman and a dozen other people who are accompanying him, the IGP said.

In light of measures taken under the National Action Plan (NAP), different search and strike operations are continuing in Buner from the past three months.

IGP Naeem Khan warned militants to avoid further resistance and lay down their weapons before it was too late.

The police informed Naya Daur that different Taliban facilitators have been arrested and militants’ movement has been restricted to Elum Ghar region.

In a letter sent to member of provincial assembly (MPA) Sardar Hussain Babak, the Taliban commander AzizUr Rehman warned that the current system being run in the country was not Islamic and should be denounced.

According to locals, the Taliban commander, whose three brothers belonged to Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), were killed in security operations in the past. He is a resident of Buner and was a staunch follower of Nifaz-i-Shariat group founded by the late Sufi Mohammed.

Militants have also been sighted in Pir Baba Kalai area and Kingar Gali areas, according to locals.

The said group has 13 members who reside in the mountainous area of Elum Ghar. Elum is famous in the region for its strategic elevation and multi-cultural history. The area contains Hindu and Buddhist remains making it an important historical site as well.

Buner was one of most terrorism affected districts when militants struck here in 2007. A military operation was conducted in the area in 2009 to clear the area from militants.

Due to its violent past, locals were concerned after hearing the news of the Taliban’s return to the area.

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