Islamabad, Dec 19 (EFE).- A group of Pakistani Taliban militants on Monday continued their siege of a center of the Counter-Terrorism Department in northwestern Pakistan, holding hostages and insisting their demands be fulfilled, official sources said on Monday.
The rebels had on Sunday seized control of the CTD facility in the city of Bannu, in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, after militants snatched weapons from officials while being interrogated.
“The detained terrorists snatched weapons (from police officers) and took some officers hostage,” provincial government spokesperson Muhammad Ali Saif said in a statement.
He insisted that the situation in the city of Bannu was “under the control of police and security agencies,” and ruled out a Taliban attack from the outside, as concerns rose over the security levels of the center, situated inside a military facility.
The Taliban militants freed some of their fellow prisoners at the center, and continue to hold some officials hostage.
However, the spokesperson insisted that “the government will not fulfill any demand of the terrorists.”
Pakistani media outlets reported that the insurgents have demanded a safe passage onboard a helicopter to Afghanistan, which has been under the control of the Afghan Taliban since August 2021.
The Pakistani government has repeatedly accused the Afghan Taliban of providing safe haven to members of the Pakistani branch of the insurgent movement.
However, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, the main Taliban faction active in the country, said in a statement on Monday that it did not “need to use the land of Afghanistan.”
“We have many large areas in the tribal region in our possession, where a large number of Mujahideen (fighters) are present, including the leadership,” the TTP said.
The insurgents said that the only way to save the soldiers and officials being held hostage was to transfer the prisoners to Pakistan’s Waziristan region.
The Pakistani Taliban has increased its attacks in recent months, especially over the past month after dialog efforts with the government failed and the rebels decided to end their provisional ceasefire.
At least four police officers were killed and four others injured on Sunday in an armed attack and clash with the insurgents at a police station in KPK.
The TTP is an umbrella group of several armed organizations established in 2007 with the aim of establishing an Islamic state in Pakistan.
Since its inception, the group has carried out a brutal campaign of terrorist attacks across the country and killed thousands of people, including an assassination attempt against activist Malala Yousafzai – who was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize – in 2012. EFE