Militants free 17 kidnapped youth in Bajaur
KHAR: The militants on Thursday unconditionally freed the remaining 17 youth who had been kidnapped when they crossed into the Afghan side of the border from Bajaur Agency around four months ago.
The young men, who were being held hostage in the neighbouring Kunar province of Afghanistan, were received with jubilation in Mamond Tehsil of Bajaur Agency to which they belonged. The Pakistani militants, now operating from hideouts in Afghan territory, had kidnapped the 25 youth after they mistakenly crossed the border into the Kunar province of Afghanistan while picnicking on the first day of Eidul Fitr in the Ghakhi Pass area near the Pak–Afghan border in the Bajaur tribal region.
The families of the kidnapped teenagers had been holding talks with the militants through the Mamond tribal elders and Ulema of the Kunar province. “The militants finally agreed to set free the youth unconditionally,” a local elder said, pleading anonymity.
Eight of the 25 youth had been freed on various occasions earlier. The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan had claimed responsibility for kidnapping the boys and had set four conditions for their release a week after the kidnapping incident. Among their demands were the release of militants held by the government and disbanding of the tribal Lashkars. The militants had claimed that the youth were kidnapped to punish the tribesmen in Mamond Tehsil in Bajaur Agency for raising an anti-militant Lashkar at the behest of the government.