KHYBER AGENCY - The outfit Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) has asked Afghan refugees and locals to provide volunteers to LI or leave the Bara area, forcing hundreds of families move to safe places, sources said Sunday.

The LI, mainly active in Khyber Agency, through announcement in Sepah area some days back had warned Afghan refugees and local tribesmen to provide them volunteers for fighting against anti-LI groups or leave Bara area of the agency where the banned group has a strong presence.

Over 500 Afghans families are residing in Bara area alone and most of them belong to Shinwari tribes, who hail from Acheen, Door Baba, Kot, Ghani Khel, Abdul Khel and Debala districts of Nengarhar province of Afghanistan. The LI chief Mangal Bagh is also stated to have taken refuge in Nengarhar.

The LI had set a deadline April 27 till 4pm for leaving Bara or face consequences in case of non-provision of volunteers. Afghan refugees held jirgas and meetings with LI men requesting them to take back their unjust demand, but to no avail. After the expiry of the deadline, Afghans nationals have started migrating from the area. Dozens of Afghan settlers along with their luggage were seen moving out of the area, and the development was also confirmed by Khyber Agency local administration officials.

The families leaving Bara said they have been living in the area peacefully since long, but now they have been expelled unjustly. They said that LI has asked them to provide fighters which they couldn’t do so they had to move out.