Pakistani Taliban release video of beheaded Pakistani soldiers


Warning: The content of this video is extremely graphic. The video shows the aftermath of the beheadings of 17 Pakistani soldiers.


The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan has released video showing the remains of 17 Pakistani soldiers who were beheaded after being captured and executed during fighting in the northwestern district of Dir just three days ago.

The graphic video, which was obtained by The Long War Journal, was sent to journalists by Ihsanullah Ihsan, a spokesman for the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan.

The videotape includes a statement by Hakeemullah Mehsud, the leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan. Hakeemullah promises that the Taliban will continue to fight the Pakistani military until the government enforces sharia, or Islamic law, and stops supporting the US in the region.

In the video, the Taliban show the heads of 17 Pakistani soldiers displayed on a white sheet; the Taliban claim that 18 soldiers were killed during the fighting. The Taliban fighters are standing around the gruesome display, holding weapons as the camera pans back and forth to show the soldiers' remains. The Taliban then show the military identification cards of the slain soldiers.

The 17 soldiers were killed after more than 100 Taliban fighters crossed the border from Kunar province in Afghanistan and attacked the Pakistani troops. Sirajuddin Ahmad, a spokesman for the Malakand Taliban, which operates under the command of Mullah Fazlullah, initially claimed credit for the attack and said 17 soldiers were killed.

"Our fight will continue until the establishment of sharia law in Pakistan .... We will fight whoever tries to stand in our way," Ahmad told Reuters the day after the battle.

Videotape the latest of a Taliban execution of Pakistani security forces

The Pakistani Taliban routinely videotape executions of their captives. The most recent high-profile execution, which was recorded in a videotape that was later distributed, took place in June 2011, when the Taliban captured 16 Pakistani policemen in Dir, lined them up, and executed them via firing squad.

The policemen had been captured after the Taliban crossed the border from Kunar province in Afghanistan and attacked police outposts and villages in the Shaltalu area on June 1, 2011. The raid sparked a pitched battle that lasted for several days. Dozens of Pakistani policemen were taken hostage during the ensuing fighting. Although Pakistani officials claimed that 27 policemen and 45 Taliban fighters were killed during the raid, independent news reports put the number of policemen killed at more than 40. [See LWJ report, Video of brutal Taliban execution of Pakistani policemen emerges.]

In February 2011, Hakeemullah Mehsud, the emir of Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, released a videotape of the execution of a former Pakistani military intelligence official known as Colonel Imam. Although Imam, a senior officer in Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, was a favorite of the Afghan Taliban for his support of Mullah Omar, the Pakistani Taliban accused him spying against the terror group. [See LWJ report, Video: Pakistani Taliban execute Colonel Imam.]



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READER COMMENTS: "Pakistani Taliban release video of beheaded Pakistani soldiers"

Posted by sundoesntrise at June 28, 2012 1:29 AM ET:

Oh well, I guess I was wrong.

This will incite more mentally ill keyboard warriors to fight jihad in a foreign land, I'm certain.

Posted by Charu at June 28, 2012 2:53 AM ET:

Ilyas Kashmiri was considered a hero in 2000 when he walked into the ISI headquarters in Islamabad with the head of an Indian soldier he had captured and then beheaded. He was personally rewarded by then Army Chief, General Musharraf, for presenting him with the decapitated head. The head was openly displayed in mosques to worshipers, and pictures of the head were published in some Pakistani newspapers.

Posted by malik at June 28, 2012 3:53 AM ET:

With supporters and representative like these, Islam does not need enemies. Pakistani Taliban have not even studied the islamic concept of war ethics.
Who are these people?? Do they really believe in God and His Prophet Muhammad??? I doubt

Posted by KaneKaizer at June 28, 2012 8:32 AM ET:

Sick.

It's hard to believe how little Pakistanis seem to care about their soldiers. If something like this happened to US soldiers in our own country, the backlash would be massive to say the least.

Posted by Vyom at June 28, 2012 9:45 AM ET:

Whether they were Frontier Corps troops or regular Army troops or someone else? Because in Paqi army there are some units considered as expendables. Another example of expendebles is Northern Light Infantry used in Kargil.

Posted by RQ at June 28, 2012 10:46 AM ET:

THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE - WE NEED TO ELIMINATE TERRORISM

Posted by Tm-Joe at June 28, 2012 11:46 AM ET:

Every culture is different and these people are just expressing themselves as they are accustomed. They make very nice rugs too.

Posted by sundoesntrise at June 28, 2012 12:09 PM ET:

Charu, I've heard before that this was a rumor. Can you provide some links to some stories of what you are talking about?

Besides, Ilyas Kashmiri has always been a mysterious figure, I doubt he'd want that type of attention. Not saying it never happened, just saying it seems like quite a story to believe.

Posted by mike merlo at June 28, 2012 12:20 PM ET:

The Pakistani response should make for some interesting reading

Posted by wallbangr at June 28, 2012 12:51 PM ET:

Someone refresh my recollection -- is this the Good Taliban or the Bad Taliban? Rhetorical question.

Memo to Pak soldiers: another timely reminder to never allow yourself to be captured alive in the hopes that these savages will show mercy on you. Better to go out fighting and/or save the last bullet for yourself than to surrender. These neanderthals will give no quarter, and nor should you. Better an intact corpse on the battlefield than the fodder for jihadi videos.

Hate to say it, but the madrasa death culture that exists in greater Pakistan only serves to encourage this sort of gratuitous and sickening violence. When the Pak government, military and security services train, shelter and support the kind of men who would engage in these tactics, they should not be surprised when they find themselves on the business end of them. A cold irony for the poor slobs being paid a measly wage to have to enforce the government's writ -- and who have to face the biting beast their very leaders have raised and fed. I feel terrible for their families, too, having to know that this footage is out there. But again, if demand for this sort of gore porn wasn't so high in the local bazaar, one wonders if the Taliban would still feel so compelled to produce it.

Posted by Charu at June 28, 2012 3:52 PM ET:

@sun, Hamid Mir, the Pakistani journalist wrote about this in a Pakistani newspaper:

http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=24626&Cat=13&dt=9/20/2009

Steve Coll also wrote about the head being paraded in mosques in his book Ghost Wars.

The 24 year old unfortunate soldier, Bhausaheb Maruti Talekar of the 17 Maratha Light Infantry (MLI), was not an officer, as the Pakistanis like to make him out to be. He was a sepoy or an enlisted grunt.

Posted by AMac at June 28, 2012 5:32 PM ET:

Over the next few days, we can note the reactions of the Pakistani government, military, media, and public to the execution and beheading of these 17 soldiers.

We can then compare and contrast it with the Pakistani reaction to the deaths of 24 soldiers that resulted from the ISAF airstrike in Mohmand on Nov. 25/26, 2011.

For reference, from the LWJ entry of Dec. 23rd, 'Pak Army does not agree' with ISAF findings on Mohmand incident:

- - - begin excerpt - - -

[Pakistani army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar] Abbas expressed surprise and frustration that the U.S. refused to apologize for the deaths of the soldiers, something many Pakistanis have demanded. He rejected an American offer to pay compensation to the victims' families, saying the army has its own welfare system.

- - - end excerpt - - -

Most Pakistanis seem to shrug at the Taliban's conduct, while outrage towards their American ally [sic] is easily stoked.

The contrast is informative.

Posted by william at June 29, 2012 6:53 PM ET:

There is not a single mention of this incident on dawn.com (major pakistan newspaper). Nothing on the front page, nothing on the "Pakistan" page and a search for "beheading" only turns up articles from years in the past.

Posted by JG at July 3, 2012 7:43 PM ET:

Does the world really need Pakistan?