Activist Manzoor Pashteen, seen during a CNN interview in May 2018.

Manzoor Pashteen: The Pashtun folk hero making life difficult for Pakistan's ruling class

Updated 9:28 PM ET, Fri May 11, 2018

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Pakistan (CNN)Manzoor Ahmed Pashteen, a 24-year-old ethnic Pashtun, was just a child when the US-led war on terror began, and it wasn't long until it was on his doorstep.

He said his family, who live in Pakistan's north-western region, close to the Afghan border, first heard the name "Taliban" in 2004. By the end of the year, with fighting intensifying, his family was forced out of their village, Sarwakai.
The following year "the situation became such that whenever an elder spoke out against the war they would suddenly disappear."
Pashteen has accused the military of allying with the Pakistani Taliban -- an almost-sacrilegious accusation in a country where the military is counted among the strongest and most trustworthy of institutions.
"Ask them: Who they are harboring in their cantonment zones, if not the Taliban?" Pashteen tells CNN, referring to the security forces' military stations.
The military and intelligence services have responded to repeated requests from CNN for comment by saying they are "not available to comment."
    His suspicions are not unique in the remote Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), where years of war and violence have left villages destroyed and lives ruined by militant violence and heavy-handed government interference, which often leads to what they see as indiscriminate killing and arrests.
    The military has long denied claims of links to armed groups. It has also rejected allegations of involvement in extrajudicial killings and abuses in its long-running war against militants in the tribal region.