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Taliban claim to hold more than 35 Pak soldiers captive

In this image taken on January. 18, 2010, Maulana Noor Muhammad, the head of a conservative religious school, speaks during an interview in Quetta. If Afghan Taliban fighters and their top leaders are roaming around this remote part of Pakistan as the U.S. alleges, the police chief here says he hasn't seen them. File photo: AP.  

More than 35 Pakistani soldiers are missing after a fierce attack by the Afghan Taliban on a border checkpost in the tribal belt and militants have claimed they are holding 10 soldiers hostage.

Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, the chief military spokesman, confirmed the attack on the check post located between the Mohmand and Bajaur tribal regions on Monday and said 40 personnel from the paramilitary Frontier Corps were initially reported missing.

The militants handed over five security personnel to the Pakistani consulate at Jalalabad in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, while the whereabouts of the other 35 is unknown, Maj. Gen. Abbas told the media.

Efforts were on to trace the missing personnel, he said.

A first time Taliban claim

However, BBC quoting Taliban sources said the militants claimed they were holding 35 Pakistani soldiers after they overran the post in the Mohmand tribal area.

While attacks by Taliban on military checkposts in the tribal areas are common, this is the first time that the Taliban has claimed taking Pakistani soldiers captive.

BBC said a Taliban spokesman claimed that the rebels were holding Pakistani troops on both sides of the border —— 30 in Afghanistan and 10 in Pakistan.

The spokesman claimed that its fighters killed seven soldiers in the attack.

Reports from Kabul quoting Kunar Provincial Police Chief Khalilullah Ziaye said nine Pakistani militiamen were apprehended by Afghan army while they were fleeing attacks by the Pakistani Taliban on four of their checkposts.

"65 security personnel were at check post"

Several major Taliban factions, including the Haqqani network and the Tora Bora Military Front, operate in Nangarhar and are known to shelter and train across the border in Mohmand and Bajaur Agencies.

One report said 65 security personnel were at the check post and only 11 had reported to their superiors after Monday’s attack.

The report said some Pakistani personnel might have accidentally crossed into Afghanistan and were in the custody of Afghan forces.


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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 12:12:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/Taliban-claim-to-hold-more-than-35-Pak-soldiers-captive/article16255429.ece

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