Abducted Pak soldiers say army can’t forget them

November 14th, 2007 - 2:05 am ICT by admin  
In an interview with the BBC after getting permission from the militant leader, Baitullah Mehsud, three of the captive soldiers among the hostages said the Army could not forget them.

Commanding Officer Lt-Colonel Zafar, Major Attique Azam and Lt Farukh Mansoor said the soldiers were being detained in-groups.

Major Attique hoped that the army authorities were considering various options for their release.

“The Army can use the option of force or negotiation,” he said, adding that the army could not forget them.

Lt Farrukh, clad in salwar kameez, said Insha-Allah they would be released soon.

Lt Colonel Zafar also said that pro-Taliban militants had stopped his convoy while he was taking supplies to army camps.

He said his superior officers instructed him to wait, while they negotiated with the militant leadership.

The militants brought three of the soldiers to a walled compound to give the first accounts how they had been captured.

The soldiers did not want to talk, but were pressurised by the Taliban to do so.

Meanwhile, Zulfiqar Mehsud, a spokesman of Baitullah Mehsud told the BBC: “We are very serious about the matter and want to resolve it peacefully.”

“As far as the Government’s response is concerned, it is better to ask them about it, but I believe they have several reasons for not being serious, one reason was the political crisis in Islamabad over the presidential election,” he added.

Zulfiqar also said that the government would be trying harder if one of the kidnapped soldiers “was the son or relative of a general or a minister”.

The Pakistan Army has reacted angrily to the BBC report.

“This is an attempt to carry out propaganda,” said Major-General Waheed Arshad, the chief military spokesman.

Major-General Arshad warned Pakistani journalists against “becoming spokesmen of the militants”.

He said the Taliban wanted to use the interview as a propaganda tool to press the government to meet the militants’ demands for the soldiers’ release.

The soldiers have been in captivity since August 30. (ANI)

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