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FATA Timeline - Year 2004

January 8

The Pakistan Army is reported to have launched an operation against the al Qaeda at Kalosha in South Waziristan. However, no one was arrested though the houses of four tribesmen were destroyed for sheltering "unwanted elements."

January 9

Four soldiers were killed during a rocket attack on a Pakistan Army camp at Zeray Noor village in South Waziristan, several hours after a military operation in the area in which three houses of tribesmen were demolished for allegedly harbouring "foreign terrorists". Mohammad Azam Khan, political agent of South Waziristan, said "Preliminary probe showed that the rockets came from the south from an area inhabited by the Zalikhels, a section of the Wazir tribe. We would now initiate action against the Zalikhel tribe under the terms of the territorial responsibility."

January 10

The political administration of South Waziristan has reportedly given a 48-hour ultimatum to the Ahmadzai Wazir tribe to surrender three wanted tribesmen charged with harbouring 'foreign terrorists'. This ultimatum comes in the wake of the January 9 rocket attack on a Pakistan Army camp in the area that killed four soldiers and wounded several others. The ultimatum was given to a Jirga (tribal council) of Ahmadzai Wazir tribe in Wana, headquarters of South Waziristan. More than 50 tribal elders belonging to the nine sub-tribes of Ahmadzai Wazir attended the Jirga. Among them were heads of the Yargulkhel section of the tribe to which the wanted men reportedly belong.

January 12

Under a deal reportedly reached with the government, the Ahmadzai Wazir tribe would raise a tribal Lashkar (force) to hunt down about 22 tribesmen wanted by the political administration of South Waziristan for allegedly sheltering al Qaeda and Taliban suspects and for the rocket attack against the Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps camps. The agreement was reached during a Jirga held in Wana.

January 14

Two more wanted men were turned over to the government in South Waziristan as tribal elders stepped up their efforts to arrest the 57 tribesmen accused of sheltering al Qaeda and Taliban suspects. This brought to five, the number of wanted tribesmen the Ahmadzai Wazir tribal elders have delivered to the political administration in Wana, over the last two days.

January 15

Ten more wanted men were delivered by their respective tribes to the government in South Waziristan.

February 13

A Jirga of hundreds of Utmanzai tribesmen in Miranshah has reportedly decided to raise a militia to hunt down foreign militants hiding in the region bordering Afghanistan. "They have vowed to catch al-Qaeda and the Taliban men in the area and hand them over to the government," a local official in North Waziristan, Sherzada Khan said.

February 23

Pakistan said that some al Qaeda terrorists were still hiding in the Waziristan region. Interior Minister Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat said in Islamabad that the tribal elders of South and North Waziristan had handed over some al Qaeda suspects hiding there. He added, "But some of them are still hiding there and the Government of Pakistan would take every step to arrest them."

February 24

Pakistani security agencies launched an operation against suspected terrorists taking shelter in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. At least 20 al Qaeda suspects, including some foreign nationals, are reported to have been arrested during these raids. Director General of ISPR, Maj. Gen Shaukat Sultan, said that foreign nationals were among those captured in the Azam Warsak and Shkai areas. Foreign national women were arrested from Azam Warsak, some 12 kilometers west of Wana, headquarters of South Waziristan. Unnamed officials were quoted as saying that Saudi, Egyptian and Yemeni nationals were among those detained and others could be Uzbeks or Chechens. The Government had set February 20 as the deadline for tribal elders to hand over al Qaeda operatives and thus far approximately 58 suspects have been turned over.

February 27

The United States has handed over to Pakistan a list of 53 al Qaeda suspects believed to be hiding in South Waziristan.

February 29

Suspected terrorists are reported to have fired two missiles at a military base in Miranshah, headquarters of North Waziristan. There was no loss of life or damage to property. The missiles were reportedly fired from the border area of Ghulam Khan, a few kilometers north of Miranshah.

March 3-4

Paramilitary personnel and Pakistan Army soldiers manning pickets close to the Afghanistan border in South Waziristan came under rocket attack. However, there were no reports of fatalities.

Continuing the crackdown on 'non-cooperative' South Waziristan tribes, the administration arrested 16 tribesmen including four Yargulkhel and Kakakhel Wazir sub-tribes' elders and the chief of Ahmedzai tribe. Two of the three most wanted men - Naik Muhammad and Sharif - reportedly belong to the Yargulkhel sub-tribe while the third - Maulvi Abbas - belongs to the Ashrafkhel sub-tribe, which was fined Rupees 1.2 million on March 1.

March 4

Four persons were injured during a bomb explosion near the Rustum Bazaar area in Wana.

March 7

Elders of the