Pro-Taliban extremists in northwestern Pakistan have killed 22 members
of a pro-government tribe. The remote violence-plagued area borders
the volatile tribal region of South Waziristan on the Afghan border,
which is believed to be a safe haven for al-Qaida and Taliban
fugitives. From Islamabad, Ayaz Gul reports.
local officials say that those murdered were among at least 27 members
of the pro-government Bhittani tribe kidnapped by Taliban militants
during a raid on the town of Jandola earlier this week.
Coordination Officer Barkatullah Marwat told VOA by telephone that
Taliban militants killed most of their captives and dumped their bodies
just outside the town.
"We received about 22 dead bodies sent
by Taliban and they have been handed over to their respective tribes
for burial purposes," he said.
Marwat says the government has
stepped up security in and around Jandola and denied earlier reports
that the strategic town had fallen to Taliban militants.
are just rumors," he said. "They have not acquired Jandolah, but their
influence over Jandolah has increased. There is no doubt in it."
Pakistani town where the incident took place is located on the main
road used for sending supplies to government forces stationed in the
South Waziristan tribal region, which is a stronghold of Pakistani
Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud.
The Waziristan region is
also believed to be used by Taliban militants for cross-border attacks
on local and foreign forces in Afghanistan.
have carried out regular attacks on Pakistani security forces and their
local supporters in the tribal areas. But in recent months, these
extremists have extended their subversive activities to some of the
urban centers of the North-West Frontier Province.
like kidnapping of government officials, blowing up of female education
centers and banning music on some areas have become routine in recent
The rise in the extremist activities is occurring despite
Pakistani government attempts to engage militants in talks to end the
But the policy is under fire from Afghan and
NATO-led forces as well as U.S officials. They say that peace talks
and peace deals with militants can help them regroup to launch more
U.S military commanders stationed in
eastern Afghanistan say insurgent attacks launched from the militant
hideouts on the Pakistani side of the border have increased this