A faction of Pakistani Taliban has claimed that they have beheaded 23 soldiers kidnapped by them in 2010, an incident that could affect the fledgling peace talks with the government.
In a statement sent to media outlets late Sunday night, the Mohmand Agency Taliban chief Umar Khalid Khurasani said that they killed the Frontier Corps (FC) soldiers on Sunday to avenge what he said was the custodial killing of Taliban fighter in various areas of Pakistan. The soldiers were kidnapped in 2010 from Shongari checkpost in Mohmand Agency.
The statement lamented that on the one hand the government has initiated the process of talks while on the other it continues to target Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP) members. "The killing of FC personnel is the revenge for the blood of our associates," it said.
"We want to make it clear to the government that we know very well how to avenge the killings of our members," the statement said, warning "if the government did not change its trend, our reaction will be more severe in future". The group also uploaded a video in which the statement was read out and stressed that will soon release another video showing the killing.
The claim of the Taliban's Mohmand chapter could not be independently confirmed. The security officials in Pakistan are yet to confirm or deny the killings. It is reported that the Mohmand faction was against peace talks. The video emerged hours after local media reports said the TTP was ready for a ceasefire which they said would be announced within 24 hours.
The Pakistan government and the Taliban are engaged in peace talks in a bid to end the decade-long insurgency that has gripped the country.