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KOHAT, June 11: About 100 armed militants belonging to Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) attacked heavily-guarded Darra Adamkhel and kidnapped 18 coalminers from Akhorwal area late on Friday night.

0fficials said that the TTP of Tariq Afridi group, which supports Hakeemullah Mehsud, penetrated into the area in the night from Tora Chinna area, which connects Darra Adamkhel with Khyber Agency.

They abducted 26 miners some of whom were also armed. Some people showed resistance and fired at the militants and escaped from their custody, but 18 men were taken away to Khyber Agency.

The security forces and political administration learnt about the incident on Saturday morning and conducted a search operation for the recovery of the kidnapped miners, who were taken across the tribal borders by that time.

The coalmines were taken over by the armed lashkar of the area when the TTP started collecting monthly tax from the miners and asked them to stop providing any kind of assistance to the army or the political administration. The sources said that the TTP had been killing and kidnapping people of those tribes in the past, who ferried food and water to the security forces trenched in the high mountains.

They said that lashkar men had refused to fulfill their demands and challenged their atrocities in Darra Adamkhel. They said that the opponent Momin Khan Afridi group, which leads the lashkar, had been asking the TTP to end their terror in Darra and threats to the local parliamentarians and businessmen because they were innocent and could not afford to support any side.

The sources said that the TTP of Tariq Afridi tried to kill his opponent, Momin Afridi, and his commanders in a suicide attack at a mosque during Friday prayers in Atariwal area. But Momin Afridi was not present in the area on that day.

Later, the TTP in a telephonic message warned the tribesmen of Atariwal to stop supporting Momin Afridi otherwise more attacks would be conducted against his tribe. The Atariwal sub-tribe of Momin Afridi group lives in the main Akhorwal area of Darra Adamkhel from where 18 miners had been kidnapped.

Momin Khan Afridi group formed a parallel Islami Taliban Momin Afridi Group in 2008 to flush out the TTP.