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Pakistan tribesmen vow to expel foreign militants

PAKISTAN: Thousands of Pakistani tribesmen vowed to expel foreign al Qaeda-linked militants from their lands on the Afghan border on Monday and to punish any tribesmen helping the foreigners.

Fighting broke out between the foreign militants, most of them believed to be Uzbeks, and Pashtun tribal fighters last month in the South Waziristan region after the militants tried to kill a pro-government tribal leader.

Members of all nine clans of the Wazir tribe, many of whom support the predominantly Pashtun Taliban in Afghanistan, met in the region's main town, Wana, and pledged to fight the foreigners. The Waziris are the main tribe in the region.

"They were our guests but later they turned into our enemies as they started killing our people," a witness cited tribal leader Mohammad Sharif as telling the 4,000 tribesmen. "We will not tolerate them anymore. We'll fight until they are ousted from our land," Sharif was quoted as saying.

The tribesmen also said any tribesmen found sheltering foreigners would have their houses demolished, and would be expelled from the region, witnesses said.

Tank, Tuesday, Reuters.

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