Pakistani Taliban kidnap 25 boys in northwest

Faqir-Mohammed-AfPax.png

Faqir Mohammed, the leader of the Taliban in Bajaur and the deputy leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan. Image courtesy of AfPax Insider.

The Pakistani Taliban admitted that their forces kidnapped up to 25 boys who accidentally crossed the border from Bajaur into the neighboring Afghan province of Kunar two days ago.

Ihsanullah Ihsan, a Taliban spokesman, said the boys were kidnapped to punish tribal leaders in Bajaur who sided with the government.

“We have kidnapped them as their parents and tribal elders are helping the government and are fighting against us,” Ihsan told Reuters today. Ishan said that the Taliban has been planning to conduct a mass kidnapping.

A large group of boys accidentally crossed into Afghanistan as they were celebrating the end of Ramadan. The Taliban released 20 of the boys who were under ten years old, Reuters reported.

One day after their kidnapping, Pakistani officials said that Bajaur Taliban leader Faqir Mohammad was behind the kidnapping. Ihsan confirmed this when he said that the Bajaur Taliban would decide what would be done with the kidnapped boys. Faqir operates along the Afghan-Pakistan border, and is known to broadcast for several hours a day on an illegal FM radio channel in order to spread jihadist propaganda and intimidate those who oppose Taliban rule. He is believed to broadcast his radio show from Afghanistan.

The Pakistani boys are said to be from the Mamond area of Bajaur, a traditional base of power for Faqir. The Taliban have been attacking the Salarzai tribe, which lives in a region adjoining the Mamond tribal areas, for years [see LWJ report, Taliban execute Bajaur tribal leader, from December 2009]. In late May, a suicide bomber killed two anti-Taliban militia leaders in the Salarzai’s tribal areas.

Salarzai tribal leaders have accused Pakistan’s military and intelligence service of aiding the Taliban against tribes that dare to raise lashkars, or militias, against them, and of even shelling Salarzai tribal areas. A senior Salarzai tribal leader later denied such reports, however, and said the tribe was working hand in hand with the government.

Although the military has conducted several operations in Bajaur, it has failed to eject the Taliban. Since 2008, the Pakistani military has twice claimed victory over the Taliban in Bajaur. During the same time period, the military has launched several major operations in an effort to clear the Taliban from the tribal agency. The campaign has been described as brutal, as the military used scorched earth tactics in an effort to eject the terrorist group.

But the military has failed to kill or capture the top Taliban leaders in Bajaur. The leadership cadre and most of the fighters escaped to neighboring tribal agencies or slipped across the border into the Afghan provinces of Kunar and Nuristan.

Faqir’s forces have teamed up with those of Mullah Fazlullah, the Taliban leader of Swat who was forced from the Pakistani district in 2009, and Qari Zia Rahman, the dual-hatted al Qaeda and Taliban commander who operates in Bajaur and Mohmand agencies in Pakistan and Kunar and Nuristan in Afghanistan.

These commanders have been behind a string of attacks along the border. Over the past year, outposts in Chitral, Dir, and Bajaur in Pakistan, as well as in Nuristan and Kunar in Afghanistan have come under massed assaults by hundreds of Taliban fighters. In the last attack, on Aug. 25, more than 300 Taliban fighters overran two Frontier Corps outposts in Chitral and killed more than 25 Pakistani security personnel.

In one of the larger attacks in Pakistan this year, 27 policemen and 45 Taliban fighters were killed during battles in the Shaltalu area of the district of Dir in the beginning of June. At least 16 policemen were captured and then brutally executed by the Taliban. A video of the execution was released on the Internet [see LWJ report, Video of brutal Taliban execution of Pakistani policemen emerges].

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.

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8 Comments

  • Nic says:

    Now the Talib’s Bacha bazi requirements are filled.

  • David Verbryke says:

    There is no other way to describe the Pakistani and other Taliban groups as simply monstrous barbarians kidnapping and raping young boys. What religion condones this monstrous behavior? Islam in its truest form doesn’t and these people are illiterate scumbags the lot of them. Let those drones take these barbarous neer-do-wells off the face of the Earth for good. Obama doesn’t want to do it, but I have a feeling with him losing the war and everything else he will feel pressured to do something right for this country.

  • Villiger says:

    This is a classic case which should show Pakistanis that it is in their interest to CO-OPERATE with the Americans. Else their country is going to the dogs, although this appallingly pathetic incident of young boys 10yrs+, would confirm that it has already done so.
    The failures of the Pak Army demonstrate that it is fundamentally a part of the problem, and certainly not part of the solution.
    Maybe the US should convince India to work together so that Pakistan can see real might and be cleansed of its terror factories once and for all. But i don’t see that happening which is why i think, in this case breaking up is easier to do.
    Balochistan, Pashtunistan, the rest can decide what they want.
    Does anyone else have any other answers?

  • Soccer says:

    The Taliban say they kidnapped “spy agents and their lackies”, and that the children were “hirelings”, and thus they had to be captured and punished.
    They said they will release the boys when they renounce the government, and their tribes will reconcile with the Taliban “or face extinction at the hands of Mujahideen”.
    The Taliban sure are the protectors of the Muslims!

  • Tayyab says:

    Before all the Pakistan bashing, I thought I read somewhere in the article or comments that these kids were captured in Afghanistan. Do the ISAF, Elite Afghan Forces still operate in Afghanistan…
    I would have thought that if these areas were the root of most of evil in Afghanistan, some forces may have been posted across the border to contest them crossing into Afghanistan…

  • Villiger says:

    Tayyab, maybe, maybe not. That doesn’t change what has become your basic Pakistani nature/character: immoral, violent, coward, unproductive parasites.

  • Soccer says:

    The Taliban use elders to their advantages.
    They sometimes do respect elders and the local traditions. But most of the time, they do not, and the Taliban have assassinated many elders and maliks in the tribal areas through suicide bombings and shooting attacks since 2002.
    If an elder dares to violate their rule, they will face swift retaliation. The “old way” of Pashtun society is very quickly being decimated and a “new way” of jihad and hatred is arising in the hearts and minds of the people of that region.

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