Pakistan tribesmen negotiate release of workers
25 November 2013, 09:14
Islamabad - Tribal elders in north-western Pakistan are negotiating with Islamist militants to secure the release of polio workers kidnapped from a school, officials said on Sunday.
A group linked with the Pakistani Taliban abducted on Saturday four male teachers from the Khyber tribal district, located near the Afghan border, for administering polio vaccines to school children.
A council of tribal negotiators met members of Lashkar-e-Islam, a militant group active in the region, to request that the teachers be set free.
"Two rounds of talks were held between them," said an official who did not want to be named.
Polio workers are frequently attacked in Pakistan by Islamist militants, who call the vaccinations a conspiracy by the West to reduce fertility in Muslims.
Pakistan is one of three Muslim countries in the world where polio is still endemic. Afghanistan and Nigeria are the others.