KHAR: The banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has set conditions for freeing 27 children it has been holding hostage for about a week and demanded that the government should release children and women languishing in various prisons, stop instigating tribesmen for forming anti-Taliban lashkars and disband such lashkars and ‘peace committees’ in Bajaur.
In a video released to the media from Kunar in Afghanistan, Bajaur TTP chief Maulana Dadullah confirmed that the 27 children from Mamond tehsil were in the custody of his group. The children had crossed the Afghan border by mistake while picnicking on Eidul Fitr.
The Taliban leader threatened that the lives of the children could be at risk if the demands were not met.
He said no-one had so far contacted the Taliban for negotiating the children’s release. He said the children were safe.
The children had crossed from Ghakhi Pass to Kunar where Taliban have their sanctuaries and are in control of border villages in the mountainous region.
TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan had earlier said that their fate would be decided by the Bajaur militants. “Taliban have kidnapped them because their parents and tribal elders are assisting the government and fighting against them.” He said the militants planned mass kidnappings when a large number of people visited the border region on Eid.