A top civil official and his six guards were kidnapped and briefly held by the local Taliban in Pakistan’s restive Swat valley,where religious hardliners are holding talks with the militants to usher in peace.
District Coordination Officer Kushal Khan,who was recently appointed to the post,and his guards were abducted on the outskirts of Mingora,the main city in Swat district.
Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan,however,claimed the official was “not kidnapped” and had been stopped by the militants so that he could be their guest for tea. But the officials contested the Taliban’s claim,saying Khan was held by the militants for almost four hours.
“We allowed him to go after taking care of him as a guest,” the Taliban spokesman said.
Today’s incident occurred despite the government and the militants calling for separate truces in the region.
Most parts of Swat are controlled by the Taliban,who are currently holding peace parleys with the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariah Mohammadi,an outlawed group of religious hardliners.
The TNSM recently reached a controversial agreement with Pakistani authorities on implementing Shariah or Islamic laws in Swat and Malakand to counter the Taliban insurgency.