Militants set conditions for release of kidnapped teens
KHAR: The outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Tuesday set three conditions for the release of 27 kidnapped teenagers hailing from Bajaur Agency and said the hostages’ lives could be at risk if their demands were not met forthwith.
The demands were made in a videotape released to media outlets from an unknown place in Afghanistan’s eastern Kunar province by the TTP’s chief in Bajaur Agency, Maulana Dadullah.
The teenagers hailing from Bajaur were kidnapped after they mistakenly crossed into Afghan territory. Later some reports suggested that 10 of the 35 kidnapped teenagers, whose ages were less than 10 years, were freed and the remaining were held hostage on August 31. The youngsters were picnicking near the Ghakhi Pass linking Afghanistan’s Kunar province with Pakistan’s Bajaur Agency during the Eidul Fitr holidays when they went missing.
Elaborating on the conditions, Maulana Dadullah urged the Pakistani government to release children and women belonging to the TTP, who according to him, were languishing in different jails in the country. He claimed the children and women were being ill treated and subjected to torture in prisons. He asked the government to stop pressing the tribesmen to form lashkars against militants in Bajaur Agency.
The Taliban chief in Bajaur Agency also demanded the disbandment of already established lashkars throughout Bajaur Agency and said the hostages would not be released unless the bodies were dissolved. He asserted that the captives being held by them also included the relatives of security forces. He, however, contended they would not be meted discriminatory treatment.
The militants, he said, were ready to hold talks over the release of the detainees but added that nobody had contacted them in this connection. Eight armed militants could be seen standing with Maulana Dadullah.
The footage also showed the kidnapped teenagers, who appealed to the government to accept the demands. They said their lives could be at risk if the demands were not met forthwith.