Hostage talks start after Pakistani Taliban militants seize interrogators

PESHAWAR: Pakistani authorities on Monday opened talks to try to resolve an impasse with Islamist militants holding several security personnel hostage after taking control of a facility counter terrorism in the northwest of the country a day earlier.
Security forces have surrounded the interrogation center near the town Bannuwhere about 20 fighters from Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) – a group consisting of Muslim groups and sects – is hiding.
According to a provincial government spokesman, the militants are demanding to be safely transported to Afghanistan.
“We are negotiating with the central leaders of Pakistan Taliban In afghanistan,” Mohamad Ali SaifKhyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial government spokesman, told Reuters.
He said the fighters’ relatives were also involved in starting negotiations with the militants inside the facility.
At least one counterterrorism official was killed by militants, who, according to authorities, snatched weapons from their guards while being questioned. Saif said some important members of TTP were present at the center.
He did not say how many security personnel were taken hostage. However, an intelligence officer told Reuters there were six hostages – four from the military and two from the counter-terrorism force.
The TTP, which has stepped up attacks since announcing an end to a ceasefire with the government last month, has long used violence to take over the country and enforce its own brand of draconian Islam. .
Bannu District lies just outside North Waziristan, a lawless tribal region bordering Afghanistan that has long been a safe haven for militants.


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