Saturday, January 28, 2023

Taliban have captured a police station in Pakistan

PESHAWAR, Pakistan ( Associated Press) — Several Pakistani Taliban captives overpowered their guards at a counter-insurgency center in northwest Pakistan, seized police weapons and took control of the compound, officials said Monday.

The terrorists also took policemen and other people inside the compound at the Bannu detention center, a district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and part of a former tribal region, said Mohammad Ali Saif, a spokesman for the provincial government.

At least 30 Taliban fighters were involved in the attack, according to officials, and may have taken up to 10 hostages.

The bold move reflected the Pakistani government’s inability to maintain control of the remote region bordering Afghanistan. The Pakistani Taliban is a separate group but affiliated with the Afghan Taliban, which seized power in the neighboring country last year as US and NATO troops finalized their withdrawal from Afghanistan.

According to Saif, little information was available at the Anti-Terrorism Center about the incident, which began on Sunday night, apparently while the police were questioning the detainees.

As of Monday morning, Pakistan had dispatched troops and special police forces to the area while officials tried to negotiate with the hijackers. The site was cordoned off and an operation was underway, Saif said without elaborating.

Security agents told The Associated Press that officials were still negotiating with the help of relatives of Taliban insurgents. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

According to officials, there were soldiers among the hostages, and it was feared that the army might storm Gayan if negotiations failed. In a video circulated on social media, the captors threatened to kill the agents if the government did not provide them with a safe exit soon.

Mohammad Khurasani, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban – also known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP – confirmed the incident. He said the captors were members of the Pakistani Taliban who had been held captive for years and were seeking safe passage to South or North Waziristan.

Those areas were Taliban strongholds until a series of military operations in recent years declared the region free of the insurgents. Since then, TTP leaders and fighters have taken refuge in neighboring Afghanistan, although they still have some control over parts of the province.

The Pakistani Taliban have increased their attacks on security forces since last month, when they unilaterally ended a month-long ceasefire with the Pakistani government. The violence has strained relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers, who brokered a ceasefire in May.

The TTP has been waging an insurgency in Pakistan for 15 years and aims to impose strict Islamic law on the country, release its detained members and reduce military presence in the country’s former tribal areas.

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Ahmed reported from Islamabad.

Nation World News Desk
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