The Khyber Agency political administration went into action on Monday, June 12, when they carried out their vow to demolish the home of Mangal Bagh Alfridi. The four-story house was torn down in Bara, and sixty shops were also demolished. Tribespeople put up no resistance to this show of strength. The administration had decided to stop its previous attempts to bring Lashkar-e-Islam on board. They had been offering the group the chance to become involved with restoring order to the region, but the group had not complied. The administration was now demanding the surrender of Mangal Bagh.
At this time, the Islamic Army had set up new headquarters in Gagarrana area in the Tirah Valley, in Landi Kotal tehsil. During their brief stay in Bara, they had handed out notices to the populace, saying they were going to institute a body calling itself the Amn Committee. They issued a 14 point decree, saying that peace would be brought to Bara tehsil through imposing major penalties on crimes which included adultery, drinking liquor, etc and fines of Rs.5000 ($83) on the owners on all kind of video shops and cable operators.
The decree stated that a murderer would pay a fine of Rs, 500,000 ($8,299), Rs 50,000 ($830) for having a dish antennae, and Rs 500 ($8.30) for not offering prayers five times a day. No woman would be allowed in market areas without one of her blood relatives.
After the demolitions, tribal and FATA representatives called for a Grand Jirga to resolve the situation, to be held on June 20.
On Wednesday, July 5, the Agency authorities mounted a sweep of the village of Gagrina in the Tirah valley, where Mangal Bagh’s followers were based. 70 militants from his army were arrested, all members of the Zakhakhel tribe. The administration also closed local routes, and mounted an economic blockade, and stopped all privileges to tribesmen. No identity cards were being issued, and troops patrolled in most bazaars.
These activities brought many zones in the Agency to a standstill. An official announced that the crackdown on Gagrina would continue, and also be repeated in other parts of Tirah and Landi Kotal.
450 tribesmen from various areas of Khyber Agency gathered in Pakhai in a jirga, where they voiced support for the administration’s crackdown on Mangal Bagh and his followers. They came from Brag, Karamna, Alacha, Ziara, Dargai, Khyber and other areas. The jirga decided to impose a fine of 500,000 rupees ($8,299) to anyone who gave shelter to Mangal Bagh. They also ordered that anyone who allowed their house to be used as a refuge for the Islamic Army leader would additionally have their house burned down.
One bearded commander of Lashkar-e-Islam claimed: “It is just a reformative organization for the betterment of the tribesmen of Khyber Agency. I have the support of 98 per cent local populance and those who are against me are the people involved in wrongdoing.”
On Monday July 17, Dr Tashfeen, the Khyber Agency political agent, demanded that the Zakhakhel tribe hand over Mangal Bagh Afridi within one week. Failure to do so would invoke punishment, including withdrawal of government incentives.
On Tuesday, July 18, Mangal Bagh Afridi, who now was making his own broadcasts on his own FM radio station, bequeathed by Munir Shakir. Bagh decided to be openly defiant. He announced on his “show” that he would mount violent protests if the Khyber Agency administration did not refuse to drop its demands for him to surrender. He even threatened that he would bring in cross-border support from Afghanistan to assist in his threat of terror.
He said: “It has now become difficult for us to remain peaceful. I assure you that unlike Waziristan, our armed struggle would go beyond the frontiers of the tribal territory”
Mangal Bagh added: “If you cannot make a government servant (political agent) abide by the constitution and (yet) have accepted him as the ruler of the agency, then you (parliamentarians) have no right to represent us in the assembly.”
The following day, paramilitary forces were sent to guard the residence of Maulana Khalil Rehman, who represented Khyber Agency in the National Assembly. Rehmin said that his own policies of moderation had made Lashkar-e-Islam hostile. He said that he would not close down businesses, as this would punish the wrong people.
It appears that the local administration is hoping that by appealing to the local tribespeople, and hoping to appease them through conciliatory measures to act in a hardline manner to Mangal Bagh.