Over 30 Pakistani boys abducted in Afghanistan

Published: September 2, 2011

Afghanistan shares a disputed 2,400-kilometre border with Pakistan where senior militants are believed to reside. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

KHAR, PAKISTAN: 

Taliban militants in Afghanistan have kidnapped more than 30 Pakistani boys who inadvertently strayed across the border, officials said on Friday. The incident took place on Thursday after the group of boys, aged between 12 and 18, left the Gharkhi area of Bajaur tribal region during Eid holidays.

“These boys inadvertently crossed into Afghanistan on the second day of Eid and were kidnapped by militants,” senior local administration official Syed Nasim told AFP.

Security officials said they learned of the kidnappings when the parents of the children informed them of the abductions on Friday.

Meanwhile, Afghan border police commander General Aminullah Amarkhel, the governor of Kunar, where the boys vanished, Fazlullah Wahidi, and the local Afghan Taliban commander all told AFP they were unaware of the incident.

Efforts for recovery

About 20 boys below ten years old in the group were allowed to return to Pakistan but those between 12 to 14 years old were held, government official Muhammad Haseeb Khan told Reuters.

About 60 children took part in the outing, he said.

Tribal elders and clerics were trying to negotiate with the militants to secure their release, officials said. “There was no possibility of a grand jirga to be held across the border… but we are trying indirect methods for the safe recovery of these boys,” a senior official from the political administration told The Express Tribune.

Sources also said the parents of these children avoided filing any formal report, out of fear.

Rehman Malik weighs in

Claiming that 10 children were recovered via the efforts of Pakistani officials, federal Interior Minister Rahman Malik vowed to recover the remaining ones too.

Malik also called his Afghan counterpart and requested for assistance in recovery and return of the remaining children.

TTP blamed

The boys were abducted by Qari Saqib of Ziaur Rehman group of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, previously blamed for carrying out attacks from across the border into Pakistani territory, sources toldThe Express Tribune.

Tribesmen from the area, where the boys belonged to, are opposed to al Qaeda and the Taliban and have raised militias to fight them, angering militants.

The last similar incident was in June 2009 when hundreds of Pakistani students from the tribal North Waziristan region were kidnapped by the Taliban. All were later released unharmed. WIRES

With additional reporting by Iftikhar Firdous in Peshawar and Zeeshan Mujahid in Karachi.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 3rd, 2011.

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Reader Comments (38)

  • Sep 2, 2011 - 2:46PM

    May God save them all

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  • woohoo
    Sep 2, 2011 - 2:50PM

    It’s really sad. I am sure that next step would be brain-washing them into believing all sorts of medival superstitions.

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  • Ishtiaer Hussain
    Sep 2, 2011 - 2:55PM

    Taliban are now the de facto rulers of Pakistan. They can now kidnap anyone, no matter how powerful he may be, from anywhere in Pakistan at will. Just look at the high profile kidnapping cases of Aamir Malik, Dr Ajmal Khan (vice chancellor of Peshawar University) and now Shabaz Taseer. Our Army is busy feeling “threat” from India on the outside borders and our country is caving in from inside. Soon the Army may have no country to defend from outside. May be, our Army would cut a deal with Taliban accepting them as the new rulers of Pakistan.

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  • haris mirza
    Sep 2, 2011 - 2:59PM

    tit for tat

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  • Cautious
    Sep 2, 2011 - 3:10PM

    Why are 30 boys traveling in the lawless NW section of Pakistan without adult supervision?

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  • Sep 2, 2011 - 3:16PM

    Ah yes, another CIA-Mossad sponsored conspiracy against Pakistani children right? Ofcourse the brave pious Taliban would not do anything to harm children? We must negotiate with them! As if there history of using 14 year olds as suicide bombers is not enough we have dimwhits who believe that we should negotiate with them as they are just disgruntled nationalists.

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  • Noise
    Sep 2, 2011 - 3:30PM

    tit for tat

    Care to explain how? What was the tit for this tat?

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  • Zafar karachiwala
    Sep 2, 2011 - 4:16PM

    Congratulations on catching these terrorists. All efforts should be made by Afghanistan government and the taliban that no terrorists from across the border, enter into afghanistan.

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  • Phannay Khan
    Sep 2, 2011 - 4:23PM

    Pashtoons on both sidesare brothers. We never even had army deployement in 50 plus years on those frontiers UNTIL US came and behind them came the Hindu RSS RAW terrorists who are busy training terrorists. So these are no ordinary Afghans or pashtoons . These are their paid mercenaries. One should not forget that. there was no terrorism until soviets or US invaded the nation. India just lap dance in in every invader’s lap. This is the root of all terror in the region if not, then what explains tamil tigers for 30 ywears war in Sri lanka? But this is die down as defeat NATO evacuate . If they will remain there they will kill Afghans and hence more terror for them as well and Hindu terrorists will keep doing these types of actions.

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  • Abdul Rehman Gilani
    Sep 2, 2011 - 4:23PM

    Another attempt by liberals to achieve their nefarious goals. That area is known for drug smugglers and a heaven for abductors. No one has even put in a ransom request and if they were taliban they will always make sure to take responsibility loudly and clearly. We all know what blackwater is capable of and their hand in this should not be ruled out. I am going to say it again liberals are a pessimistic and narcissistic bunch with their own axe to grind.

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  • Incredible
    Sep 2, 2011 - 4:26PM

    @TightDhoti: You forgot to include RAW and the aliens.

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  • R S JOHAR
    Sep 2, 2011 - 4:56PM

    What a tragedy for the parents of these young children and Pakistan as well. Thirty more potential suicide bombers or terroists.

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  • Sep 2, 2011 - 5:11PM

    @Ishtiaer Hussain:
    most likely you may be right.India wants to “destabilize and destroy” Pakistan. Nothing could be further from the truth. Doing so could sow the seeds of India’s own destruction. And to believe that India wants to absorb another 170 million Muslims is pure insensibility.Recommend

  • Ode
    Sep 2, 2011 - 5:46PM

    @Ishtiaer Hussain …read the news again, it says “Afghanistan” not Pakistan.

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  • Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan is help by india
    Sep 2, 2011 - 6:39PM

    see in rediff.com

    Wikileaks: Did India support Pakistani Taliban?
    Last updated on: August 31, 2011 10:20 IST

    pakistan taliban also killed many americans

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  • J Oberoi
    Sep 2, 2011 - 7:38PM

    @Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan is help by india:
    I certainly hope so. After every group from the Khalistan movement to Assam to Kashmir has had Pakistani support, I hope India also returns the compliment. Otherwise it would seem unfair.

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  • Shah Zalmay Khan
    Sep 2, 2011 - 7:48PM

    @Cautious:
    The Boys were from the villages of Bajaur Agency, near the border. Crossing the un-marked Durand is not new for children on both sides of the border, especially during Eid or other festivals. On such occasions, children (in large groups) routinely go out for a Picnic-type activity called “Sael” (Saer-o-Sayahat in Urdu or TOUR in English). This is their outing and the border, being un-marked at most places, is not a hindrance for them. Keep in mind that the same tribe lives on both sides of the border.
    We pray for the safe release of these children.
    Yes, Army (and if needed Air Force) should hunt the militants across the Durand in Kunar. The rule of HOT PURSUIT has been used by NATO, so why not by Pakistan?

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  • Umair Waheed Sheikh, Khayban e Hafiz,IBA Karachi
    Sep 2, 2011 - 9:24PM

    They were sure militants. Who would want to go picnic there? Its good now the afghans will make the boys into men!

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  • noman vardag
    Sep 2, 2011 - 9:28PM

    Terrorists in the garb of religious freedom fighters, another consequence of short sighted, myopic, self serving, stupid and slavish policy of our great gen. zilaul haq and gen. musharraf. Recommend

  • Cautious
    Sep 2, 2011 - 10:14PM

    @Shah Zalmay Khan. Thanks for the explanation. I still don’t understand why anyone would let there children go out and celebrate a festival by themselves in a portion of the country where the govt had ceded control to the militants. I agree with you “hot pursuit” comment but would add that in order to have “hot pursuit” you have to start with regular “pursuit” which requires engaging/fighting the Taliban – that’s not happening.

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  • Observer
    Sep 2, 2011 - 10:21PM

    I used to see similar reports in Indian media about abduction of youth in Kashmir by Pakistani terrorist outfits…talk about things coming a full circle

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  • Ishtiaer Hussain
    Sep 2, 2011 - 10:56PM

    @VINOD:

    You are right, Dear. If one can think logically, driving all of biases out of one’s mind, India never wants to destabize Pakistan. India will never want to create a Somalia or Afghanistan on its Eastern border which would also be armed with more than 100 nuclear devices and long-range missiles. Even if a single nuclear device would slip out into the hands of terrorists, it would be a catastrophe for India and the region. Each of Pakistan’s nuclear devices is about 80 times more powerful than those bombs dropped on Japan during Second World War.
    We, Pakistanis, have become psychological patients who can only imagine falsely that the US, India, and Israel want to destroy their country. We need to get out of this mindset.

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  • ex
    Sep 2, 2011 - 11:59PM

    Pakistan Army is protecting pak from western border, soon eastern border will be safe too. but no point protecting eastern border from rag tag truck drivers and leave west vulnerable to worlds largest arms importing army

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  • Noor Nabi
    Sep 3, 2011 - 12:16AM

    While one prays for the safe return of each one of these young men to their respective families it is another slap in the face of the “strategic depth” policy of the mullah-military establishment in Pakistan.

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  • Nadeem Ahmed
    Sep 3, 2011 - 2:36AM

    If you live close to the jungle, you should be very careful of wild animals.

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  • Akthar
    Sep 3, 2011 - 8:30AM

    @Shah Zalmay Khan: I 100% agree with what you have said. Hot Pursuit must be the way. But then, we arent sure who the enemy is? Militants or US/NATO or Afghans? Therefore, till we ourselves are clear & come out with policy which is open to the public at large, nothings going to change. Blood will flow & Lives lost.

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  • narayana murthy
    Sep 3, 2011 - 8:43AM

    Nadeem Ahmed says “If you live close to the jungle, you should be very careful of wild animals.”

    I have a question : “What if you LIVE INSIDE A JUNGLE?”

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  • Sep 3, 2011 - 10:34AM

    @Ishtiaer Hussain: thanks

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  • rehmat
    Sep 3, 2011 - 10:57AM

    @Shah Zalmay Khan:
    “The rule of HOT PURSUIT has been used by NATO, so why not by Pakistan?”
    SO let me ask you a few questions:

    1) When NATO followed on hot pursuit, were they not made to apologize in Oct 2010?

    2) Even if NATO had no consequences when they followed the policy of hot pursuit, do you approve of that policy?

    3) If Pakistan established hot pursuit into Afghanistan and India quoted that precedent to pursue terrorists in Pakistan, would you support that?

    Recommend

  • Sep 3, 2011 - 11:17AM

    Most of you should be ashamed of yourselves. Using the kidnapping of children to push your paranoid conspiracies on people once again. It’s shameful because it’s almost as if you don’t care even a little bit if the actual topic takes a backseat to your claims being argued for the hundredth time.

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  • Pundit
    Sep 3, 2011 - 1:03PM

    Over 30 suicide bombers in the making…….

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  • Who Knows
    Sep 3, 2011 - 9:20PM

    Who knows . . . who the kidnappers may be . . . .could be another strategic move by the proxy warriors and their handlers (headquatered in Afghanistan) as they are at the losing end. Let them unmask their face and then their true colours may be exposed. Games that these proxy warriors play . . . . .shame on these loser hyenas!

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  • Bhushan
    Sep 3, 2011 - 10:17PM

    Strategic assets creating assets for themselves

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  • indian news
    Sep 4, 2011 - 11:17AM

    mr j oberoi check whether during commwealth games how many sikhs were arrested .

    and about helping pakistan taiban you feel good

    these people kidnapped sikhs. you always say marathas shivaji are great they fight auranzeb.

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  • Noble Tufail
    Sep 4, 2011 - 4:06PM

    wishing thier safe return home.

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  • Zalim Singh
    Sep 4, 2011 - 5:44PM

    If this happened on the border with India, all hell would have broken loose.

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  • Two cents
    Sep 5, 2011 - 12:08AM

    @ex All borders should be protected as Indians will infiltrate as rag tag or send rag tags from all weak points. Military better stay alert to all the faces of Proxy warriors and their puppets and mercernaries!!

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  • Adil
    Oct 5, 2011 - 12:01AM

    @Phannay Khan:
    Yes, and you didnt had Taliban either. Brother, even US is fueling too much money into this and they along with Nato wanna mov eout of this place ASAP; but not in IRAQ like situation which US still regrets. Today, Pakistan is economically dependent on Europe and US (I must add name of our all time friend China too, but thats another debate). Second, its not interest in either US or Indian Hindu groups to be in that area and your point has no real fact behind that. Its just a normal sense that you wants it to be and get angry on. You can not run country with guns bro, and Taliban led Afghanistan was really not a good example of a successful country, I wonder what you really looking as the future of Pakistan?

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