Taliban executes 15 Pakistani soldiers
This screen grab taken from video footage released by the Taliban shows a Taliban militant holding his assault rifle moments before shooting Pakistani soldiers. AFP photoTaliban militants have released a video showing the execution of 15 Pakistani soldiers whose bodies were found earlier this month after they were kidnapped in northwestern Pakistan.
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had claimed responsibility for the killings. The 15 FC (Frontier Constabulary) personnel were kidnapped late last month after a night-time raid on a checkpoint in the northwestern town of Tank. The 2.38 minute video was released late Jan. 21 and shows the blindfolded soldiers sitting in three rows on a hillside. Pakistan’s Taliban abducted the paramilitary troops on Dec. 23 from near the country’s lawless tribal areas to avenge military operations. An unidentified Taliban commander says the group was taking revenge for the killing of 12 Taliban fighters in Khyber tribal district. “We warn the government of Pakistan to stop killing our people whom they have arrested and if they continue to do so then Taliban will (kill) them like this,” he says, before he starts shooting the captured soldiers with a Kalashnikov rifle. Majeed Marwat, a commander of the Frontier Corps said morale among his men would always remain high despite such videos. Formed in 2007, the TTP is an umbrella group of Pakistani militant factions operating in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Allied with the Afghan Taliban and al-Qaeda, it pledged to overthrow the Pakistani government.
Memo scandal witness refuses to travel to Pakistan
Meanwhile, the chief witness in a secret memo scandal that threatens to bring down the president will not travel to Pakistan to testify, claiming the government has set a trap to prevent him from leaving, his lawyer said yesterday. American businessman Mansoor Ijaz has implicated President Asif Ali Zardari in a secret memo seeking US help to curb the power of the military, allegedly fearing an army coup after Osama bin Laden was killed in May.
Ijaz’s Pakistani lawyer Akram Sheikh yesterday told reporters that his client was reluctant to visit the nuclear-armed country, fearing that he would be detained indefinitely. “Mr Ijaz has decided to make a request to the commission to record his testimony in London or Zurich,” Sheikh told reporters. Meanwhile, a suspected U.S. drone fired missiles at a house and a vehicle in northwestern Pakistan yesterday, Pakistani intelligence officials said, killing four alleged militants in an attack.
Compiled from AFP, AP and Reuters stories by the Daily News staff.