Suspected Pakistani Taliban militants have released a videotape showing the beheading of a Polish engineer kidnapped four months ago. In another development, a suicide car bombing has wounded at least 18 people in northwest Pakistan.
Pakistan has seen several high profile kidnappings and assaults on foreigners in recent months blamed on Taliban insurgents. The attacks have mostly taken place in areas that border Afghanistan.
Polish engineer Piotr Stanczak was one of the abductees. His captors were demanding the release of 60 Taliban prisoners, but a videotape released to local media on Sunday showed graphic details of the Polish man's beheading by masked men.
Local media quoted a Taliban spokesman as saying they killed the foreigner because the Pakistani government refused to meet their demands.
Speaking to VOA, the Polish embassy spokesman in Islamabad, Piotr Adamkiewicz, says they have seen the seven-minute video and it is authentic.
"After checking of the originality of the video and positive identification of the man who was killed, we are 100 percent sure that he was [the] Polish engineer. And of course we are waiting for the body," he said.
Taliban militants have said they will not release the body of the Polish engineer unless their demands are met.
Polish engineer Stanczak's death is the first killing of a Western hostage in Pakistan since U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl was beheaded in 2002.
An American regional chief of the U.N. refugee agency, a senior Iranian diplomat, and Afghanistan's ambassador-designate are among those kidnapped in Pakistan, but their whereabouts are not known.
Taliban militants also have threatened to kill other foreign hostages unless the government meets their demands, including an end to the anti-insurgency military operation in the border areas.
At least 18 injured in suicide bombing
Meanwhile, police say a suicide bomber drove his car loaded with explosives into a strategic security post in the northwestern town of Bannu, injuring at least 18 security personnel.
The attack occurred on the same day the newly appointed U.S. special representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, begins his first tour of the region. He is due to hold talks with Pakistani leaders on how to deal with growing terrorism and extremism, particularly in the tribal regions that border Afghanistan.
The top American diplomat will also travel to Afghanistan during his 10-day stay in the region for similar talks with Afghan leaders. Mr. Holbrooke has been assigned to help President Barack Obama's administration reformulate U.S. policy in what is being described as the most problematic region on earth.