Captors say abducted children's lives in danger
ASADABAD (PAN): Pakistani Taliban, who took 23 children hostage in the tribal region of Bajaur, warned on Sunday the captives' lives would be endangered if 20 child warriors were not freed by Islamabad.
On August 31, the insurgents kidnapped 35 children from the Bajaur tribal region during the Eidul Fitr festival. But militants released those below 10 years of age while keeping the rest in captivity.
Initially, Pakistani officials said the children were seized by Afghan Taliban after they strayed into Afghan territory. But a spokesman for Pakistani Taliban, Ihsanullah Ihsan, said their fighters had kidnapped the children.
Mullah Dadullah, introducing himself as a leader of the Pakistani Taliban, told Pajhwok Afghan News the 23 minors they were holding hostage would be freed if the Pakistani government released the fighters, including children.
Although Pakistani authorities tortured the detainees, the Taliban treated the captives well and gave them food three times a day. "If the government does not free the child fighters, the lives of captives will be at risk," he said.
Kunar Governor Fazlullah Wahidi has rejected the rumour that children were being kept on the Afghan side of the border, suggesting they may have been taken to some border area.
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