21 missing Pakistani policemen found shot dead by Taliban

Posted at 11:38 AM, Dec 31, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-31 11:39:47-05

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) — Militants in Pakistan killed two security forces and abducted 21 others in an assault on two military camps Thursday, a government official told CNN.

Days later, the Associated Press reported that twenty-one tribal policemen believed to have been kidnapped by the Taliban were found shot dead in Pakistan’s troubled northwest tribal region early Sunday.

More than 200 people suspected to be members of the Taliban conducted the actions, said Nazeed Akbar, a government official.

The camps are nearly two miles apart on the outskirts of Peshawar. The militants swamped the camps on foot and in vehicles around 2 a.m.

A gunfight lasting more than an hour ensued. Along with those missing and killed, at least one security force member was injured.

The Pakistan Taliban confirmed they had the security forces in custody. The personnel belonged to a tribal police force engaged in fighting militants.

The northwestern region of Pakistan — near the volatile border with Afghanistan — has a large militant presence, and it has been plagued by fighting.

On Saturday, the Pakistani Taliban carried out a suicide bombing targeting a Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial official in downtown Peshawar, Bashir Bilour. The official was among 10 people killed; 17 other people were wounded.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the blast and issued his support for Pakistan “to combat the scourge of terrorism.”

Earlier this month, health workers administering polio vaccinations came under fresh attack in northwestern Pakistan, including an 18-year-old worker slain as he was vaccinating children on the outskirts of Peshawar.

Pakistanis have viewed polio vaccination campaigns with suspicion after the CIA’s use of a fake vaccination program last year to collect DNA samples from residents of Osama bin Laden’s compound to verify the al Qaeda leader’s presence there.

Bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces in May 2011.

In June, a Taliban commander in northwest Pakistan announced a ban on polio vaccines for children in the region as long as the United States continues its campaign of drone strikes in the region, the Taliban said.

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