KOHAT, April 30: The local Taliban retook control of Darra Adamkhel after talks between the administration and tribal elders to guarantee safety of the Indus Highway were deadlocked.

The militants continued their activities in the area despite the presence of security forces. A military pick-up carrying two personnel of army’s engineering corps was captured by militants on Monday.

The two kidnapped army men were later freed, but the vehicle was not returned.

The administration served a notice on the Sheraki tribe under the collective responsibility clause of the FCR on Tuesday, asking them to find the vehicle and hand over the militants involved in the incident.

The militants are again searching vehicles and commuters on the Indus Highway and two masked militants killed a man in Akhorwal area, accusing him of being involved in drug smuggling.

They have started collecting a ‘tax’, of Rs1,000 for each truck leaving the coalmine for their ‘daily expenses’.

Assistant Political Agent of the Frontier Region of Kohat Saeed Khattak told Dawn that the administration had called a meeting of tribes from areas along the Indus Highway and the Kohat Friendship Tunnel to discuss measures for protecting local people.

In the past, the militants kidnapped several travellers and killed them.

Mr Khattak said the crisis could be resolved only if tribal elders cooperated with the administration and identified the militants hiding in the area.

He said if the elders did not cooperate, the government would be left with no alternative but to arrest them under the Clause 21 of the FCR to restore order in the area.

Taliban militants had hijacked five ammunition trucks of the army on Feb 23 and a military operation was launched on Feb 25 for recovering the ammunition.

During the week-long operation, a number of security personnel and Taliban were killed.

The administration kept troops in the mountains area around Darra Adamkhel but pulled out tanks last week after which the Taliban returned to the area.

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