Pakistani Taliban Kills 15 Abducted Security Officers

Posted January 5th, 2012 at 10:10 am (UTC-5)
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The Pakistani Taliban says it killed 15 paramilitary soldiers after abducting them late last month along the country's restive border with Afghanistan.

A Taliban spokesman told reporters Thursday that the group shot the troops before dumping them in the border tribal region of North Waziristan. Local officials say they have recovered the bodies and that they have gunshot wounds and show signs of torture.

The abduction occurred on December 22 when militants raided a paramilitary post in the Tank district of the northwestern province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

The soldiers are members of Pakistan's Frontier Constabulary, a paramilitary force operating in the Afghan border region that is home to several insurgent groups.

The Taliban says the attack was carried out in revenge for one of Pakistan's recent military operations against militants in the area.

The Pakistani Taliban, or Tehrik-e-Taliban, is a loosely organized group of insurgents that formed in 2007. Though its members mainly operate in Pakistan's tribal areas, the group is believed to have carried out routine bomb and gun attacks elsewhere in the country.

The latest incident comes days after al-Qaida and Afghan Taliban leaders reportedly asked Pakistani militants to stop targeting Pakistani security forces. The request, which allegedly originated with Afghan Taliban supreme commander Mullah Omar, said that Pakistani militants should instead concentrate on battling U.S.-led troops in Afghanistan.

In recent months, various Pakistani militants and government officials have suggested that Islamabad is holding preliminary peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban and affiliated militant groups. But other officials and militant leaders have rejected the claim, and violence along the border has continued.

Separately, the International Committee of the Red Cross said Thursday that one of its British employees has been kidnapped by unknown gunmen in the southwestern province of Baluchistan.

Police say the man was driving to the Red Cross office in the provincial capital city of Quetta when several gunmen stopped his vehicle and took him away.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the abduction, but kidnappings are common in the province, where various criminals looking for ransom money grab foreigners and locals. Baluchistan is home to various militant groups, including pro-Taliban factions, as well as Baluch militants who are fighting a separatist insurgency.