Taliban execute 21 Pakistani policemen in Peshawar

The Taliban executed 21 Pakistani policemen last night after capturing them during a series of raids at checkpoints outside the northwestern provincial capital of Peshawar last week. The Taliban have now conducted three mass executions of Pakistani security personnel since June 2011.

The policemen were bound, blindfolded, lined up, and shot after being tried and convicted by a Taliban court, provincial officials told Reuters. Of the 23 policemen who were captured during the raids last week, 21 were executed, one was shot but survived and is in a hospital with serious injuries, and one escaped, Dawn reported.

The Taliban’s top spokesman and the spokesman for a local group operating in Peshawar both claimed credit for the execution.

“We killed all the kidnapped men after a council of senior clerics gave a verdict for their execution. We didn’t make any demand for their release because we don’t spare any prisoners who are caught during fighting,” said Ihsanullah Ihsan, the senior spokesman for the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan.

Mohammad Afridi, the spokesman for the The Commander Tariq Afridi Group, said that his faction carried out the execution of the police. The Commander Tariq Afridi Group is one of the most dangerous Taliban factions. It is based in Darra Adam Khel and operates in Arakzai, Khyber, Peshawar, Kohat, and Hangu. Although Tariq Afridi, the group’s emir, is rumored to have been killed, his death has not been confirmed by the Taliban.

The Commander Tariq Afridi Group has also conducted two other major attacks in Peshawar this month. On Dec. 15, the group launched a suicide assault on the Peshawar airport. And on Dec. 22, the group assassinated Bashir Ahmed Bilour, the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and killed eight other people in a suicide attack in the city.

The Taliban have conducted mass executions of Pakistani security personnel two other times since the summer of 2011. In June 2011, Taliban fighters loyal to Mullah Fazlullah, the group’s emir in Swat and Dir, executed 16 Pakistani policemen who were captured during heavy fighting in Dir. The Taliban released a videotape that showed the execution.

And in June 2012, Fazlullah’s fighters videotaped the execution of 17 captured Pakistani soldiers taken during fighting in Dir.

The latest mass execution takes place just two days after Hakeemullah Mehsud and his deputy, Waliur Rehman Mehsud, appeared in a videotape to deny reports that the top leadership of the Pakistani Taliban is fractured. The Pakistani military and government have been running a disinformation campaign promoting a split between the top leaders, and have claimed the group has been defeated in military operations in the tribal areas.

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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  • Birbal Dhar says:

    I believe this is a “I told you so”, as I wrote a previous comment on when the policemen were kidnapped by the Pakistani Taliban.

  • gb says:

    No surprises here, but since this appears to be acceptable treatment of prisoners, perhaps ISAF should adopt this same approach. It could promote a new found respect from the enemy.

  • EDDIED. says:

    I am with gb. Kinda reminds me of how police train their dogs. What would happen to the police dog if you didn’t let them bite? lol

  • ayamo says:

    I’ve raised the question in another article: Is it me, or are they stepping up their activities again?
    It’s a quite unlikely time to do so … what do they think they can achieve? The peak of the “war” seems to be over with both sides (army vs Taliban and the various tribes) sitting in their respective corners and barely making any moves, safe a few clashes here and there.
    Or am I completly out of synch here?

  • blert says:

    The Soviets tried your concept.
    It entirely blew up on them.
    The ISAF should stay on mission and never adopt Soviet brutalities as an operational method.
    It’s been proven to not work.
    It’s also the case that the ISAF gets much better results with captured prisoners — since the opfor can’t stand kindness — and consequently coughs up intel like crazy.
    MACV found the same dynamic generations ago in Vietnam. Strangely, Vietnamese culture is such that torture is astonishingly ineffective. However, if you are humane, captured VC would routinely spill the beans. Three of four days of full bellies, wine and song — and everything came tumbling out.
    In the harsh, harsh world of the Pashtun, humane treatment can bring astonishing benefits.
    In many, many ways, it’s our ‘charm offensive’ that’s driving the ISI nuts. The benefits of peace and modernity are a crushing counter-lure to Taliban repression.
    The opfor is being undone by the smart phone. Now you don’t even have to visit ‘gay Paris’ to see it.
    I contend that broadcasts from Kabul are a real eyeopener for the hicks in the sticks.
    ( Hard to believe, but true: some Afghans didn’t know that the Soviets had left the country — or that Americans weren’t Soviets. This was true as late as 2008. (!) Now that’s the sticks.)

  • Sashland says:

    Well, at least they weren’t waterboarded… and they have the right to a fair burial! Yep, the US is the evil one.///sarc [for the tone-deaf]

  • Hibeam says:

    Was NATO Involved? No? Nothing to see here. Move along.

  • KaneKaizer says:

    And yet the Pakis continue to sit on their hands.

  • mike merlo says:

    no surprise ‘here’

  • wallbangr says:

    Another timely reminder to any poor slob in a Pak-Police uniform about to be overrun by the Taliban that surrender is not a viable option. They won’t give quarter and it is a fools errand to ask for it. Better to go out fighting and save one last round for yourself than to end up fodder for the inevitable gore-porn video that they will turn this into.
    @blert always adds some useful information/historical context to the various debates that ensue.

  • gb says:

    Your points are excellent, as usual well thought out. I was being facecious but nevertheless it kills me that the savagery enacted on the locals by locals is seen as an acceptable tactic for promoting change. Your point concerning the lack of understanding as to who the enemy is, is hilarious and frustrating at the same time. Why are we bothering to try and drag these cavemen into the 21st century. Happy new year LWJ fans, and contributors!

  • etudiant says:

    Seems little has changed since Kipling’s day:
    When you’re wounded and lie on Afghanistan’s plains.
    And the women come out to cut up your remains,
    Just roll on your rifle and blow out your brains,
    And go to your death like a soldier.

  • Minnor says:

    How about airdropping free food every week in Waziristan or FATA areas of Pakistan, where drones often drop bombs? It may help win over civilians, like public distribution system of ration food.

  • blert says:

    It’s been done….
    Over ten years ago the USAF air dropped rations for the civilians in Afghanistan. They were brightly packaged.
    The opfor freaked out… and spread tales that the infidels were sowing poisoned food from the skies.
    Further, that if anyone was found with such ‘tainted’ food in their possession then lethal retribution would follow.
    All in all, it was a bust. The locals couldn’t understand pictoral instructions — and the food was too alien for them, too.
    We’d have to parachute in chefs — and lamb shanks.
    Beyond that, such victuals would be used entirely by the opfor, itself, as military rations would suit them perfectly.
    Even when the ISAF works along side the ANA they eat at separate kitchens. The Afghans just don’t accept western foods. They fear that such chow was not prepared in a ‘hallal’ manner — which would impair their acceptance into Heaven. (Always a major concern for any active combatant.)


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