Hostages taken at Pakistan counterterrorism centre seized by TTP


Standoff continues after Pakistani Taliban males overpower guards, snatch weapons and take hostages on the facility in northwestern Bannu city.

Pakistani authorities have opened talks to attempt to resolve a standoff with attackers holding a number of safety personnel hostage after seizing management of a counterterrorism facility within the nation’s northwest.

Security forces have surrounded the extremely fortified army cantonment that homes the interrogation centre in Bannu district, the place about 20 fighters from Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) – often known as the Pakistani Taliban – are holed up, experiences on Monday mentioned.

Bannu sits simply exterior North Waziristan, a tribal-dominated district in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province that borders Afghanistan. The area has lengthy been a secure haven for TTP fighters.

Pakistan has been combating an armed rebel by the TTP since 2007 when it emerged. The group associates itself with Afghanistan’s Taliban and is combating for the enforcement of their strict interpretation of Islamic regulation within the nation, the discharge of their members who’re in authorities custody, and a discount of Pakistani army presence within the nation’s former tribal areas.

There has been a surge in assaults on safety forces for the reason that TTP pulled out of peace talks with Islamabad final month.

Pakistan Bannu
Security officers stand guard on a blocked highway exterior the Bannu facility [Muhammad Hasib/AP]

The incident in Bannu erupted late on Sunday and rapidly developed right into a standoff.

According to Mohammad Ali Saif, a provincial authorities spokesman, the attackers had been demanding secure passage to Afghanistan.

“We are in negotiations with the central leaders of the Pakistani Taliban in Afghanistan,” the Reuters information company quoted Saif as saying.

He mentioned the authorities had been but to obtain a response from the TTP, including that kin of the attackers and space tribal elders had been additionally concerned in initiating talks with the hostage-takers.

Authorities mentioned not less than one counterterrorism official was killed by the attackers who snatched weapons from the guards throughout their interrogation, Reuters mentioned.

Several important TTP members had been current on the centre, Saif mentioned.

He didn’t say what number of safety personnel had been being held hostage. An intelligence officer informed Reuters, nevertheless, that there have been six hostages – 4 from the army and two counterterrorism officers.

Pakistan Bannu
Security officers patrol near the counterterrorism centre in Bannu, Pakistan [Muhammad Hasib/AP]

Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper on Monday mentioned the state of affairs on the facility stays tense 15 hours after it was seized and that there was no breakthrough in negotiation with the TTP attackers.

There had been considerations that the army may storm the ability if the negotiations fail.

In a video message circulating on social media, the hostage-takers threatened to kill the officers if their secure passage was not organized.

Pakistan’s army has performed a number of offensives within the tribal areas since 2009, the time when the world was in full management of armed teams.

The operations pressured the teams and their management to run into neighbouring Afghanistan the place Islamabad says they arrange coaching centres to plan and launch assaults inside Pakistan, a cost Kabul denies.

The attackers accountable for the interrogation facility had demanded a secure passage to Afghanistan, a TTP assertion despatched to Reuters mentioned. It added that the TTP had additionally conveyed the demand to Pakistani authorities, however hadn’t heard again any “positive” response.

An announcement by the TTP mentioned the hostage-takers had been demanding secure passage to North or South Waziristan districts and had “mistakenly mentioned Afghanistan” in a video they launched on Sunday.

The hostage state of affairs got here a day after the TTP claimed the killings of 4 policemen in a close-by district.

Also on Monday, a roadside bombing focused a safety convoy in North Waziristan, killing not less than two passersby, police mentioned. No group instantly claimed accountability for the bombing.

The violence by TTP has strained relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers, who had brokered the ceasefire with the group in May this 12 months.