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Tuesday, January 31, 2023
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    Officials say Pakistan raid kills all Taleban hostage-takers

    PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN (AP) – Pakistan’s special forces raided a police centre in a remote northwestern district yesterday, killing all Pakistani Taleban militants who had earlier this week overpowered guards at the facility, seized arms and taken hostages, officials said.

    The swift operation was successful, according to security and intelligence officials, but it was not immediately clear how many Taleban were killed – or how many officers had been held by the hostage-takers at the centre in Bannu, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, since the brazen takeover on Sunday. The officials declined to elaborate on the operation, which was launched after more than 40 hours of negotiations with the Pakistani Taleban failed.

    On Monday, officials had said that one officer was killed when the Taleban detainees, held for years at the Bannu counter-terrorism centre, seized the facility.

    Defence Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif told reporters that the operation was successful but also declined to elaborate, saying a government statement would be coming later.

    The Taleban had claimed they were holding at least eight security personnel. Earlier, officials said there were about 30 Taleban fighters involved and that they had demanded a safe passage to former strongholds of the militant group.

    Three military and police officials said seven members of the special forces who took part in the operation were wounded.

    A government spokesman in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mohammad Ali Saif said the Taleban hostage-takers were given a chance to surrender before the raid but refused.

    Local residents watch smoke rising from a counter-terrorism centre after security forces started to clear the compound seized earlier by Pakistani Taleban militants. PHOTO: AP
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