The Pakistani Taliban recently executed four men whom they had accused of “spying for Indian and Jewish intelligence agencies” in the settled district of Karak.
“We found bodies of four men, they had been killed by shooting and notes in their pockets said they were spying for Indian and Jewish intelligence agencies,” Sajid Mohmand, the district police chief for Karak, told AFP.
The executions in Karak, a settled district in the northwestern province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, are the latest in a series of Taliban attacks in the central part of the province. The Taliban have carried out suicide attacks, bombings, and assassinations in the districts of Peshawar, Kohat, Hangu, and Bannu. Today, the Taliban killed three civilians in a car bombing in the nearby tribal agency of Khyber.
Karak has seen little Taliban violence over the past year, yet the Taliban have maintained a presence in the district. The last major attack in Karak took place in February 2010. In that attack, a suicide bomber targeted a police station, killing three policemen and leveling the station and a mosque.
Karak borders the Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan, as well as the Taliban insurgency-hit districts of Hangu, Bannu, and Kohat. Since 2005, the Taliban spillover from North and South Waziristan has affected these settled districts. In 2007, a secret Pakistani government report described these districts as being out of the government’s control.
The military has launched several operations to dislodge the Taliban in Kohat, Bannu, and Hangu since 2008, but has failed in that objective; the Taliban have responded by killing any tribal leaders who cooperated with the government. The western regions in Bannu have served as the seat of al Qaeda’s Shura Majlis and as the home to the bank of the Caliphate. Kohat remains a Taliban hotspot; in the past, the Taliban have shut down the Indus Highway, the main artery that connects Peshawar to the southern districts. Just last weekend, the Taliban attacked the Kohat tunnel with two truck bombs in an attempt to close the vital link between the northern and southern areas of the province.
Today’s executions are the first by the Taliban in Karak. The Taliban routinely execute so-called “US spies” in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Agencies. The Taliban often claim local Pakistanis are providing intelligence to the US and 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.
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