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Pakistan tries amnesty to stem tribal support for Al Qaeda

In offering amnesty this weekend to five wanted tribesmen in this lawless region on the Afghan border, the Pakistan military hopes to isolate “foreign terrorists” by cutting off their local support and dismantling their safe haven. Under the deal, officials say, the “Men of Al Qaeda” agree not to aid foreign fighters, use Pakistan’s territory for any terrorist activity, or involve themselves in any terrorist attack across the border.The military also set an April 30 deadline for foreigners living in this semi-autonomous region to surrender or face military action, suggesting a possible operation in the mountains where “foreign terrorists” are believed to be in hiding. The agreement holds out the prospect of ending a protracted confrontation between the Army and the pro-Al Qaeda commanders’ local force of more than 2,000 fighters, who have been accused of assisting foreign terrorists in South Waziristan. But some observers urge caution, saying any future operations against foreign fighters – Arabs, Chechens, and Uzbeks – will test the accord’s strength.Full Story

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