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Taliban video shows beheaded soldiers

28 June 2012, 08:08

Islamabad - Taliban militants on Wednesday released a video showing severed heads of 17 Pakistani soldiers who they claimed to have killed in a cross-border attack on a check post in Pakistan.

The beheading, claimed by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, took place on Sunday when Taliban militants from Afghanistan infiltrated into the northwestern district of Upper Dir.

A senior security official in the northwestern regional capital of Peshawar on Wednesday confirmed that a total of 17 soldiers were targeted by the attackers who came from the eastern Afghan province of Kunar.

"Six troops were killed on the first day and another seven were slaughtered the next day," the official said.

"Four were missing and now they have also been beheaded," he said.

Dir, a key border transit route, neighbours Swat valley where Pakistan defeated a local Taliban insurgency in 2009.

Intelligence officials blamed the attack on loyalists of Pakistani cleric Maulana Fazlullah, who fled to Afghanistan after losing control of Swat to the army.

The video prepared by the Taliban's media wing shows 17 severed heads of soldiers placed on a white sheet while masked men stand behind clutching assault rifles captured from the soldiers.

Local security officials confirmed that all the victims were Pakistani soldiers.

Afghanistan and Pakistan have long blamed each other for Taliban violence plaguing both sides of their porous, mountainous border.

Pakistan says rebels have regrouped in eastern Afghanistan.

Afghan and US officials want Pakistan to eliminate Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked havens used to launch attacks in Afghanistan.



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