Taliban gun down 21 abducted soldiers

The Pakistani Taliban have brutally gunned down 21 security personnel at a cricket ground after abducting them from check posts near the northwestern city of Peshawar, officials said Sunday.

The bullet-riddled bodies of the personnel were found in Frontier Region Peshawar, located a short distance from the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, shortly after midnight. Their hands were tied before they were shot dead at the cricket ground.

Two other security personnel escaped and one of them was critically injured. One of these personnel alerted local authorities about the killings. "The bullet-riddled bodies of 21 Levies troops have been recovered from Janikhwar area of Frontier Region Peshawar, while two injured are being treated at Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar," said Naveed Akbar Khan, the administrator of the region.

Officials of the local political administration and members of a jirga or tribal council retrieved the bodies.

The bodies were identified and handed over to the families of the victims.

The Taliban had kidnapped 23 personnel of the Levies militia after overrunning three check posts early on Thursday. The Darra Adam Khel faction of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for abducting the personnel. Police officials said Saturday that the elders had established contact with the militants and started negotiations for the release of the kidnapped men.

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