Militants release abducted Pakistani soldiers

WANA, Pakistan (AFP) – Pro-Taliban militants on Tuesday released 19 Pakistani soldiers who were abducted earlier this month in the rugged tribal belt bordering Afghanistan, officials said.Armed militants kidnapped 16 Pakistani soldiers from the South Waziristan tribal district on August 9 and seized another four security officials including a colonel on Friday.

One of the soldiers was beheaded on August 14. Militants later distributed a gory video of the execution, which was carried out by a teenage boy with a knife.

“They released the 19 security officials early Tuesday,” senior administration official Rasool Khan Wazir told AFP in the region’s main town Wana.

“The freed men have been handed over to tribal elders who will deliver them to the authorities in Wana later today,” he said.

The release of Pakistani soldiers was negotiated by a jirga, or a tribal peace committee of local elders and tribal MPs. Officials said the jirga had secured their release without condition.

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