Overseas Civilian Contractors

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Pakistani Taliban say they have Swiss tourists

By ISHTIAQ MAHSUD, Associated PressJuly 29, 2011

SHAWAL, Pakistan (AP) — The Pakistani Taliban have custody of two kidnapped Swiss tourists and will free them if the U.S. releases a female Pakistani scientist convicted of trying to kill Americans, the No. 2 commander of the militant group told The Associated Press.

Gunmen abducted the man and woman as they traveled in the southwestern Baluchistan province earlier this month.

Authorities later said the two were taken to South Waziristan, a northwestern tribal region that borders Afghanistan and has been a hotbed of Pakistani Taliban activity for years.

Many locals and several foreigners have been kidnapped by militants in the border region over the past eight years. Some have been killed, while others have been released or their fate is unknown, often after ransoms have been paid.

The commander, Waliur Rehman, spoke to an AP reporter on Thursday in the Shawal area of South Waziristan. He said his group ordered the kidnapping in a bid to gain freedom for Aafia Siddiqui, a U.S.-educated neuroscience specialist and mother of three who is serving 86 years in an American jail for trying to shoot U.S. security officials in Afghanistan.

Rehman said that if Siddiqui is not freed, a Taliban court will decide their fate. He did not give any deadlines.

“We have not tortured this couple, and we have no such intention,” he added.

Officials at the Swiss and U.S. embassies in Islamabad declined to comment Friday on Rehman’s demand.

Please read the entire story here

July 29, 2011 - Posted by | Afghanistan, Legal Jurisdictions, Pakistan, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , ,

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