Leaders of one of Afghanistan’s largest tribes have struck a deal with the Afghan government and international coalition forces to help halt insurgent attacks and surrender homemade weapons in order to gain foreign aid.
The pact reached with Alikozai tribal leaders also include assistance in expelling foreign militants from the tribe’s region in the Sangin district of Helmand province, according to The Wall Street Journal. People of the Sangin district likewise agreed to help stop attacks on development initiatives to attract more foreign aid, the newspaper adds, citing the provincial spokesperson, Daoud Ahmadi.
As part of the agreement, Alikozai elders promised to give the coalition “freedom of movement” while completing the construction work on a road connecting Sangin to the other districts of Helmand. In exchange, they are requesting medical clinics, schools and freedom to move around, according to U.S. Marine Maj. Gen. Richard Mills, who commands the coalition forces in southwest Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, a Taliban spokesman denied the existence of such an agreement, saying it was propaganda by the coalition forces, the Wall Street Journal says.
Sangin is one of the hubs for opium-processing, which is a key source of funding for militants, the newspaper explains, adding that coalition forces have struggled to take control of the district and lost approximately 100 British soldiers during a four-year mission there.