The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan has released a video showing the severed heads of Pakistani soldiers who had been captured and beheaded during fierce fighting in the contested tribal agency of Bajaur in the country’s violent northwest.
The soldiers were captured during several days of heavy fighting in the Salarzai area of Bajaur, according to Movement of the Taliban spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan, who first noted that the soldiers were captured on Aug. 29, the same day he announced that the Taliban “chopped off the heads” of seven Pakistani soldiers in South Waziristan. Ihsan claimed that the Taliban took control of Salarzai.
“On midnight of Tuesday/Wednesday [Aug. 28 and 29], when battle was entering in its sixth day in Salarzai District of Bajaur agency, Mujahideen killed 14 Security personnel, also injuring scores of them and destroying two of their vehicles,” Ihsan said in an email sent to The Long War Journal.
“Mujahideen slit the throats of 11 army-men in light of Shariah Law. After fully getting control of Salarzai now mujahideen will start advancing to central districts of Bajaur Agency InshaAllah,” he continued.
The beheading video was sent to AFP by Sirajud Din, another spokesman for the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan.
“Praise be to God that the mujahideen in Bajaur agency have managed to kill the infidel soldiers of Pakistan,” Sirajud Din told AFP. “Many of them were killed by bullets, 12 of them as you see have been beheaded, you see 12 heads here, and more heads are on the way.”
The Pakistani military has confirmed that 15 of its soldiers have gone missing in Bajaur. The military claimed the Taliban crossed from Kunar province to attack the military and allied tribal militias in Bajaur.
The video shows the heads of nine of the Pakistani soldiers, which are placed in a line along the ground. An unidentified Taliban commander, who is unmasked, is flanked by two other unmasked men. The commander is said to be loyal to Mullah Fazlullah, the leader of the Taliban in the Swat Valley who has been operating along the Afghan-Pakistani border. At least 10 other Taliban fighters can be seen in the background; at least one is wielding a large axe.
The video also shows identification cards, phones, Pakistani money, photographs, flashlights, and other items that belonged to the slain soldiers.
Videotape the latest to show Taliban executions of Pakistani security forces
In the past, the Taliban have released videos of the execution and beheading of Pakistani troops. Most recently, on June 28, a video showing the heads of 17 Pakistani soldiers who had served in the district of Dir, which is near Bajaur, was released by the Taliban. [See LWJ report, Pakistani Taliban release video of beheaded Pakistani soldiers.]
In June 2011, the Taliban released a video of the execution of 16 Pakistani policemen in Dir. The Taliban lined them up, and executed them via firing squad. The policemen had been captured after the Taliban crossed the border from Kunar. [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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