The United States shifted hundreds of its troops to the Afghan area bordering North Waziristan on Sunday along with heavy arms and gunship helicopters and sealed the Pak-Afghan border for all types of movement, a Pakistani daily reported on Monday.
Tribesmen living in the border areas said Afghan and U.S. authorities had clamped a curfew in the Gurbaz area of Afghanistan’s Khost province and started house-to-house searches, Pakistan’s The News reported.
The abrupt deployment of U.S. forces near the border area with Pakistan has escalated tension in the militancy-plagued North Waziristan tribal region as U.S. forces immediately sealed the main Ghulam Khan-Khost highway for traffic.
Pakistani security officials and tribal sources in Ghulam Khan area said U.S. forces had arrived there during the night between Saturday and Sunday and occupied nearby hilltops and established observation posts.
The newspaper cited sources as saying that U.S. forces had set up a huge military base across the border and shifted gunship helicopters, heavy tanks, long-range artillery guns and other heavy weapons to the border area.
NATO warplanes were also seen flying over the border region several times during the day, the villagers in Ghulam Khan said.
Tribal elders of the Gurbaz tribe inhabiting both sides of the Durand Line said U.S. forces had clamped a curfew in Tarkhobi area and asked villagers to stay at home.
They also claimed that U.S. and Afghan forces had launched house-to-house search but were clueless about any arrests made during the search operation, according to the Pakistan’s The News.
Pakistani security officials in North Waziristan confirmed the latest development and said they were monitoring the situation on the border with Afghanistan, but they gave no further explanations.
Tribesmen in North Waziristan were concerned about the arrival of U.S. forces at their doors, but they said they did not expect U.S. forces to cross the border to enter Pakistani territory.
(To see the original story: http://thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=9604&Cat=13)