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Residents In Pakistan Tribal Region Continue Protest Demanding Release Of Detainees


A sit-in protest against the arrests of local residents of North Waziristan by security forces on September 21.

A sit-in protest by residents of Pakistan’s remote North Waziristan tribal district continued for a second consecutive day on October 14 as they demanded the release of all the locals allegedly detained by security forces following a roadside bombing last month.

Dozens of women who started the protest in the Dattakhel area were told by tribal leaders to leave on October 14, while the men who had joined them in the action remained.

The sit-in is aimed at gaining the release of around 15 men who were rounded up during a security raid after the attack on a military convoy on September 15.

Said Anwar, a local member of the Pashtun Protection Movement, told RFE/RL that several local men had been rounded up during a security raid in the Muhammadkhei area following a roadside bomb blast on a military convoy in the area on September 15.

A senior military official in the area told RFE/RL that all those arrested were involved in "generating insecurity" in the area and were supporters of militant groups.

The women have said the protest will continue until the men are released.

North Waziristan has served as a stronghold for local and foreign militants until 2014, when Pakistan’s army launched a massive military operation to clear the region of combatants.

Despite the army’s claims of success, the region on the border of Afghanistan has continued to be the scene of violent attacks, targeted killings, and roadside bombs.

Last month, two Pakistani soldiers were killed in a shoot-out with militants during a search operation in North Waziristan.

Earlier that same month, the Pakistani Taliban took responsibility for a powerful roadside bombing in the same district that targeted a military vehicle, killing three soldiers and wounding four.

The Pakistani Taliban, also known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, are a separate insurgent group from the Afghan Taliban, although Pakistan’s militant groups are often interlinked with those across the border in Afghanistan.

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