PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Pakistani police said Monday that the Taliban had released a video showing policemen being executed by firing squad after being captured in the northwest.
A senior police official told AFP the video was filmed on June 1, when Taliban besieged a police checkpost in Upper Dir, about six kilometres (four miles) from the border with Afghanistan’s Kunar province.
The video, parts of which have been aired by Pakistani TV channel Geo and which is available on LiveLeak.com, shows at least 15 men standing on a hillside in traditional civilian dress with hands tied behind their backs.
A commander, seemingly Taliban, and other bearded fighters, also wearing shalwar khamis, but armed with kalashnikovs and rocket-propelled grenades stand in front of the apparent policemen, none of whom are wearing uniform.
The commander then delivers a brief speech, declaring policemen enemies of Islam and deserving of death.
“These are the enemies of Allah’s religion and have left Islam. Allah orders to kill such people,” he says, speaking in the local Pashto language.
“We arrested them in fighting here. They killed six innocent children in (the northwestern valley of) Swat in the same way,” he claims.
The commander and his fighters then open fire on the men, who start crying and moaning. They later pump bullets at close-range into bodies still moving.
Mian Iftikhar Hussain, information minister for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said the video was taken in Upper Dir, where officials said Taliban crossed the border from Afghanistan to attack Pakistani police.
Mir Qasim Khan, police chief for Upper Dir district, put the number of victims in the video at 18, saying they were policemen and paramilitary police captured on June 1.
“It was a pre-dawn attack and that’s why most of them are not wearing uniform,” he told AFP.
The Taliban was not reachable for comment on Monday.
Another police official told AFP at the time that that 500 militants, including Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, took part in the attack which began before dawn on June 1 and continued throughout June 2.
Taliban and other Al-Qaeda-linked militants have carved out strongholds on both sides of the porous Afghanistan-Pakistan border, a region that the United States has called one of the most dangerous places on Earth.
Upper Dir is part of Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and borders the region where the military waged a major offensive to put down a local Taliban insurgency in Lower Dir, Buner and Swat in 2009.