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Taliban releases 30 Pak security personnel taken as hostage

Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad | February 05, 2009 00:52 IST

The Taliban [Images] on Wednesday abducted and released 30 Pakistani security personnel in Swat Valley after the hostages promised to quit their jobs in exchange for freedom.
 
Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan said the abducted personnel were freed on Wednesday after they gave a written undertaking that they would quit their jobs.There was no official word on the latest development. Shahnawaz, one of the kidnapped Frontier Corps men, said the security personnel had given a written undertaking that they would quit their jobs. He said they would soon formally resign.
 
The bold abduction was carried out on Tuesday night when the army and paramilitary forces had suspended operations to break the siege of two police stations laid by Taliban militants in Shamzoi area and rescue the trapped security personnel, local police officials and TV channels reported.
 
Clashes continued throughout the day, but as night fell the operation was suspended giving the chance to Taliban to whisk away 30 security personnel which included six policemen and 24 paramilitary Frontier Corps personnel.
 
The militants destroyed the police station after taking away the security personnel as hostages from the building.

Muslim Khan said the militants had surrounded the police station late on Monday night and captured the station after an exchange of fire that lasted 24 hours. Six militants and three security personnel were killed in the exchange of fire at the police station.
 
Over 70 militants have died in fierce clashes with the security forces in Swat since Monday night.
 
Recent reports have suggested that hundreds of policemen in Swat have recently quit their jobs due to threats to their families from the Taliban.
 
Taliban militants have overrun most of the Swat Valley, called the Switzerland [Images] of Pakistan and once the haunt
of tourists and rich and this has triggered a massive exodus of residents. Army troops have launched a fresh crackdown to flush out the militants who now control most of the area.
 
About 45,000 people have reportedly fled from Charbagh and adjoining areas. Many of the displaced people have taken refuge in camps set up by authorities.
 
The outflow of locals has come about as the militants are enforcing their own brand of strict Sharia law, banning
girls going to school, making sporting a beard a must, and now targetting lawyers.
 
However, the Dawn newspaper quoted sources as saying that security personnel were running out of ammunition and had sought reinforcements. The report said it was "feared that the troops may be forced to surrender if help did not reach them in time".




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