Pakistani militants on Thursday killed 15 security force members they kidnapped last month close to the Afghan border, showing that not all insurgent factions are interested in reported peace talks with the government.
The men's naked bodies were dumped in Shiwa town in the North Waziristan region, said local residents Sada-u-Alla and Salam Khan. Intelligence officials confirmed the men had been killed. The officials didn't give their names, because they were not authorized to be identified in the media.
In a statement, the Pakistani Taliban said the slayings were in retaliation for an army operation on Jan. 1 in the region that killed several militants, including a prominent commander. It alleged that troops also killed a woman and arrested others, "something that was forbidden and illegitimate in Islam as well as against tribal traditions."
The slain men were members of the Constabulary Corp, a paramilitary outfit active in the border region with Afghanistan. The insurgents kidnapped them during a Dec. 22 attack on a Pakistani security base in the border region.
In recent months, some militant commanders and intelligence officials have claimed peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban, one of the largest and most deadly militant groups, were under way. But other Pakistani Taliban commanders have dismissed this, and sporadic attacks have continued.
Tribal leaders and analysts speculate that the group, which has been pounded by Pakistani army offensives and American missile strikes over the last few years, is riven with internal splits.