26 October, 2006

Waziristan: Taliban taxes and law and order.

Having created a safe refuge for itself in Waziristan, the Taliban (aka militants) is starting to behave like a government and impose taxes. From the Australian:

PRO-TALIBAN militants operating in North Waziristan have announced plans to levy local taxes, further eroding Pakistan's authority in the remote tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

The plans were announced in pamphlets issued in the local capital, Miranshah. They follow the controversial September 5 agreement between local militants and Pakistani authorities, apparently with the personal approval of the Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar.
In addition to taxation, another government function the Taliban has usurped is proving rather more popular with the locals: law and order. Khaleej Times:
Near Miranshah’s main bazaar, the militants have opened an office in an Islamist seminary, or madrasa, where their officials settle disputes among Pashtun tribesmen.

“We are responsible for maintaining law and order in the bazaar,” Eid Niaz, the deputy head of the office, told Reuters as tribesmen sat in a circle, waiting to plead their cases on issues such as disputes with neighbours.

Under the deal, tribes can be held responsible and punished for any violation to the agreement in line with tribal law. Punishment includes having vehicles confiscated by the government and shops and houses demolished or sealed.

Residents said crime had fallen since the militants took over security responsibilities in the region, though several people accused of being “American informers” had been killed.

“We’re happy that they have taken charge of law and order. We don’t have robberies anymore,” said one resident.

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