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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Pakistani Taliban kill over 20 pro-govt tribal elders

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, June 25, IRNA
Pakistani Taliban have shot dead over 20 tribal elders of peace committee in the restive South Waziristan tribal region, witnesses said Wednesday.

Supporters of Pakistani Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud captured the tribal elders on Monday after a battle with pro-government tribesmen, according to officials.

Taliban had made hostage the elders at Jandola town, the gateway to Waziristan, after they seized the town, killing four tribesmen on Monday.

Two militants were also killed in the fighting.

"Taliban threw bodies of kidnapped tribal elders at Jandola Bazaar this morning," a witness said on phone from the town.

"Taliban also made announcements through loud speakers to remove the bodies," he said, requesting not to be named for security concerns.

Correspondents in the region said that death toll of tribal elders in Waziristan has risen to 40 in three days.

Witnesses said that authorities and relatives took away the dead bodies for burial as the killing plunged the area into shock.

Waziristan is base of chief of Taliban Movement Baitullah Mehsud, who have strong ties with Afghan Taliban and al Qaeda. He is accused of masterminding suicide attacks across the country and killing Benazir Bhutto in December.

"The killing action will invite strong reaction from tribesmen," a local said. The incident will have bad impact on the peace process in the region, he said.

Pakistani Taliban have intensified in Pakistan's tribal region as well as parts of North West Frontier Province in recent weeks.

The federal government has also admitted that Taliban are knocking at Peshawar, the capital of North West Frontier Province.

Interior Advisor Rehman Malik told the parliament on Tuesday that the security forces will launch targeted actions against the militants within a week.


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