Seventeen picnickers that included students as well as minors abducted more than six months back from Khyber agency reached home Saturday after they were recovered from Afghanistan through the efforts of law enforcers, tribal elders and some other people involved in the process. However, independent sources did not rule out the possibility of payment of ransom for the release of the abducted reportedly kidnapped by the Taliban militants.
“Seventeen people who were kidnapped from Landi Kotal more than five months back, have reached their homes in Pakistan after they were recovered from Afghanistan. The recovered people included students, children and the old,” the officials in the security forces and Political Administration of Khyber agency said adding the kidnapped persons were recovered through the joint efforts of Political administration, law enforcement agencies and Jirga leaders.
Afghanistan based Pakistani Taliban had abducted eighteen tribesmen from a hilly terrain close to Afghan border on Sept 4, 2017 and shifted them to Afghanistan. Later one of the abducted man succeeded in fleeing from the captivity of Taliban the same day and informed the tribal elders and Shinwari tribes of the abduction of 17 tribesmen. The abductees were identified as Wasif, Shafiullah, Abdullah, Abdul Wahid, Ayazullah, Bismillah, Abu Bakar, Hazrat Noor, Naik Noor, Ayub Khan, Muslim Shah, Zahirullah, Bashi Ikram Saeed, Ajmal, Kamran and Rahatullah. Jamatul Ahrar, a splinter group of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, which is operating from Nangarhar province of Afghanistan, later reportedly claimed responsibility of the abduction and demanded a huge amount as ransom.
Several rounds of talks were held between militants and the relatives of abducted tribesmen, but, the former refused to release abductees without payment of ransom. While the officials declined to share details of exact location where the administration received kidnapped men after their release by Taliban, it could not be ascertained if the tribesmen were released against payment of ransom or without any deal. The officials said they will share details with the media later on.