Pakistani Taliban threatens to kill 29 hostages

July 20th, 2008 - 12:07 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Taliban

Islamabad, July 20 (IANS) Taliban militants have threatened to kill all 29 hostages they hold captive if the government fails to withdraw troops from Hangu, a town in the restive North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan. The 29 officials, kidnapped by the militants before the military operation commenced in Hangu Wednesday, were at a “safe place”, a Taliban spokesman told the Dawn newspaper Saturday.

“As soon as they (militants) receive orders from the central leadership, they would start killing them (hostages) one by one,” the newspaper said quoting Maulvi Haider, the spokesman.

Haider ruled out any chance of the kidnapped officials’ release if the provincial government failed to meet the demands of the Taliban.

The newspaper reported that security forces secured militant-held areas in the region without any resistance Saturday.

The government has been sending hundreds of soldiers to the area to engage in the fighting with the militants since the two sides agreed to a new series of peace deals this year.

The fighting has resumed as the government faces mounting pressure from the US to take stronger action against Taliban in Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas, which the militants use as launching pads for attacks against NATO and American troops in southern Afghanistan.

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