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Taliban set free seven workers of dam project

BANNU, Sept 14: Seven of the eight workers of the Gomal Zam dam project, who were kidnapped by Pakistani Taliban two years ago, were set free on Saturday in what was described as a goodwill gesture by the militants.

The seven men were handed over to local administration officials in a village on the border of North and South Waziristan agencies.

The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had claimed kidnapping them on Aug 16, 2011 near Tank district while they were going to their hometowns from the project site in South Waziristan Agency.

Those kidnapped included sub-divisional officer Shahid Ali Khan, sub-engineer Sanaullah and four security personnel.

Between their kidnapping and release, the TTP released four videos in which the group requested the government to accept their demands in return for the workers’ safe release.

The men were set free in South Waziristan Agency following negotiations between a tribal jirga and the TTP’s representatives. The militants claimed that the abductees were released as a goodwill gesture.

One of the men set free by the Taliban told reporters here that an employee of the Frontier Works Organisation, Mushtaq, was not among those kidnapped. Mushtaq’s bullet-riddled body had been shown in one of the video clips released by the Taliban after the kidnapping.