Taliban video shows grisly aftermath of attack on Pakistani soldiers

The bloody attack showed the threat still posed by the Pakistani Taliban, despite army offensives. 

B.K.Bangash/AP/File
Soldiers of the Pakistan army are on alert in the troubled Pakistani tribal area of Miran Shah in North Waziristan along the Afghanistan border, in 2007.

The Taliban released a video Wednesday that they say shows the heads of 17 Pakistani soldiers captured in a cross-border raid from Afghanistan this week and beheaded.

The bloody attack showed the threat still posed by the Pakistani Taliban, despite army offensives. Increasingly, the militants have used sanctuaries in eastern Afghanistan to attack border areas in Pakistan's northwest.

Pakistan has criticized NATO and Afghan forces for not doing enough to stop the attacks, but it has received little sympathy. The Afghan government and its allies have long faulted Pakistan for failing to target AfghanTaliban militants and their allies who use Pakistani territory to launch attacks in Afghanistan.

The Pakistani and Afghan Taliban are allies, but the former has focused on fighting the Pakistani government, while the latter has concentrated on attacking foreign and local forces in Afghanistan.

The Pakistani Taliban said in the video that they killed 18 soldiers, but 17 heads were displayed on a bloody white sheet on the ground outside. Several militants whose faces were covered were standing around the heads, holding weapons they said were captured from the soldiers.

The Associated Press obtained the video by email Wednesday from Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan.

The beginning of the video contains a voice recording by Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud in which he says the militants will continue to battle the army until Pakistan's government stops supporting the U.S. and enforces Islamic law throughout the country. It was unclear when the message was recorded.

The Pakistani military said previously that 13 troops were killed in Sunday night's cross-border raid into the country's northwest Upper Dir region, and seven of them were beheaded. Four others were reported missing at the time. The military did not immediately respond to request for comment on the video.

The Pakistani Taliban and their allies have staged scores of bombings and other attacks against security forces and civilians in the country, killing thousands.

The latest attack came during serious political instability in the country.

The Supreme Court forced former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to step down last week after convicting him of contempt for failing to reopen an old corruption case against the president.

On Wednesday, Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry said in a court session that he expects the new prime minister, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, to comply with the court's order to reopen the case, a sign that the legal crisis will continue to shake Pakistani politics, said Waseem Sajjad, a lawyer involved in the case.

Prime Minister Ashraf has refused to say whether he would comply with such a court order, and analysts said that was unlikely.

Critics say that by pressing the case against the president, the court is taking on a political role in a country where elected governments have been routinely squeezed by the military, often in cooperation with the court.

Court backers say activist judges limit corruption and government misuse of power. The court has also been investigating alleged human rights abuses by the military.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.