What is happening in Kurram Agency?
Dr Mohammad Taqi, Daily Times, February 2011
While the Pakistani media went hoarse over Raymond Davis, it conveniently ignored several other foreign thugs of the tallest order, operating with impunity inside Pakistan
As the world at large focused on events in the Arab world and Pakistanis remained preoccupied with CIA contractor Raymond Davis, a jirga composed ostensibly of tribal elders from Kurram Agency announced on February 3, 2011 a ‘peace’ accord between Shias and Sunnis in Parachinar, the headquarters of the Kurram Agency.
However, a closer look at the players involved in brokering the deal shows that what appears, prima facie, as a welcome solution to years of deadly impasse, is nothing but the Pakistani establishment’s attempt to roll out its own version of the end game in Afghanistan. Never mind the jihadist history of reneging on deals, but without actually addressing the grievances of the Sunnis displaced from Parachinar or the Shias dislodged from Sadda, Jalamai and Chardewal — let alone restitution for the thousands killed and maimed on both sides — the deal is bound to end in failure. A senior Pashtun leader, Abdul Lateef Afridi, speaking to this writer, stated: “While the opening of roads is a welcome sign, unless the establishment changes its policy towards Afghanistan, the Kurram deal spells more trouble for the region...an agreement under the auspices of the Pakistani Pashtun elders may be the only route forward but, unfortunately, none of them were consulted.”
The Kurram Agency’s geo-strategic importance, with its proximity to the Paktia, Paktika and Khost provinces of Afghanistan on one hand and North Waziristan (NW) and Orakzai Agencies on the other, is well established. A neutral Kurram is imperative for the International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) to stymie the influx of jihadists from this region into Afghanistan. Conversely, any sustained Taliban intervention into Afghanistan from the Pakistani side requires open access through upper Kurram. The contiguity of lower and central Kurram to NW and Orakzai can allow jihadists easy transit into Afghanistan. The northeast reaches of upper Kurram, adjoining the Tirah valley and the Tora Bora complex in the Spin Ghar mountain make for a retreat and retraction route for the jihadists — a conduit used to the fullest benefit by al Qaeda in 2001.
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Various Perspectives on the subject:
A Haqqani-brokered peace in Kurram agency? - Foreign Policy
Peace in Kurram Agency - Express Tribune
Poetic sessions welcoming peace in Kurram conclude - The News