Taliban kills fifiteen in response to talks
Former Pakistani Taliban Chief Hakimullah Mehsud (L) is seen with other militants in this photo. The Taliban killed 15 abducted troops in revenge for military operations. AP photoThe Pakistani Taliban yesterday killed 15 security force members they kidnapped last month close to the Afghan border, showing that not all insurgent factions are interested in reported peace talks with the government.
In a statement, the Pakistani Taliban said the slayings were in retaliation for an army operation on Jan. 1 in the region that killed several militants, including a prominent commander. The slain men were members of the constabulary, a paramilitary outfit active in the border region with Afghanistan. The insurgents kidnapped them during a Dec. 22 attack on a Pakistani security base in the border region.
Islamist militants opposed to the government, particularly the nebulous Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) network, have carried out bomb and gun attacks killing more than 4,700 people across Pakistan since July 2007. In recent months, some militant commanders and intelligence officials have claimed peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban, one of the largest and most brutal militant groups, were under way. But other Pakistani Taliban commanders have dismissed this, and sporadic attacks have continued.
The United States described Pakistani tribal regions as the most dangerous place on earth and asked Islamabad to take decisive action against militants especially in North Waziristan, a bastion of the Haqqani network. But Pakistan withstood US pressure to wage battle with the Afghan Taliban-allied Haqqani network, which is blamed for some of the worst attacks in Afghanistan.
Pakistan’s fragile alliance with the United States crashed to new lows on Nov. 26, when NATO air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in what the Pakistan military called a deliberate attack. The air strikes were the latest in a series of crises last year that have brought the fragile Pakistani-U.S. alliance to an all-time low. Islamabad has kept its Afghan border closed to NATO convoys since Nov. 26, boycotted the Bonn conference on Afghanistan and ordered Americans to leave an air base understood to have been a hub for CIA drone strikes on the Taliban.
Compiled from AP and AFP stories by the Daily News staff.