Taliban punish 4 'spies' for recent deadly airstrike
The Taliban executed four more so-called 'US spies' who were accused of providing information that led to last week's controversial Predator airstrike in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan.
Three tribesmen were shot multiple times in the Datta Khel area, and another in the nearby Mir Ali area, AFP reported. "The bodies had multiple bullet wounds and were mutilated," and notes accusing them of spying for the US were found pinned to their bodies, Wahab Khan, a Pakistani official, told the news agency.
The Taliban also accused the men of aiding the US in the March 17 Predator strike that killed more than 30 people, including 10 Taliban fighters and a senior lieutenant loyal to North Waziristan Taliban leader Hafiz Gul Bahadar. Pakistani officials, including General Pervaz Kayani, the top military commander, denounced the strike and claimed that everyone killed was a civilian attending a jirga, or council, to resolve a local mining dispute. But the Taliban were reported to have mediated the jirga.
The Taliban routinely execute so-called "US spies" in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Agencies, and recently have expanded this campaign into the neighboring province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. On Feb. 5, the Taliban executed four people accused of "spying for Indian and Jewish intelligence agencies" in the district of Karak, and on March 18 the Taliban executed a spy in Kohat. Also, on March 4, the Taliban executed four more "US spies" in North Waziristan.
The Taliban often claim that local Pakistanis are providing intelligence to the US and to Pakistan's intelligence service to aid in the Predator campaign that targets al Qaeda and Taliban networks in the tribal areas. But the Taliban have also used the excuse of "spies" to eliminate their local opposition.
The Taliban perfected this strategy in North and South Waziristan. Tribal leaders who oppose the Taliban are brutally liquidated. The Taliban execute the leaders and dump their bodies on the roadside with notes pinned to their chests branding them as "US spies" and traitors. The bodies are often mutilated and beheaded. Occasionally, the Taliban will place suicide vests on the so-called spies, and detonate them in front of crowds of onlookers.
Meanwhile, as the Taliban target "spies" in North Waziristan, Hafiz Gul Bahadar has threatened to end a peace agreement he signed with the government in the summer of 2009, in protest of the March 17 strike. In the agreement, Bahadar agreed to not attack Pakistani forces and to not shelter al Qaeda and the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, and in return the Pakistani Army would not attack Bahadar and South Waziristan Taliban leader Mullah Nazir's tribal areas. However, both Bahadar and Nazir have violated the peace agreement from the beginning, as al Qaeda, the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, and numerous other terror groups have remained ensconced in Bahadar and Nazir's territories.