[QODLink]
Central & South Asia
Taliban kidnaps 30 Pakistani boys
The children, ages 12 to 18, mistakenly crossed the border into Afghanistan while picnicking in northwest Pakistan.
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2011 09:45
The boys mistakenly crossed the border from Pakistan to Afghanistan while picnicking, officials say [GALLO/GETTY]

Taliban fighters have kidnapped more than 30 Pakistani boys who had mistakenly crossed the unmarked border in the country's lawless northwest into Afghanistan, officials said.

The incident took place on Thursday after the group of boys, aged between 12 and 18-years-old, left the area of Gharkhi in Pakistan's Bajaur tribal region for celebrations marking the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

"These boys inadvertently crossed into Afghanistan while picnicking on the second day of Eid and were kidnapped by militants," senior local administration official Syed Nasim told AFP.

Islam Zeb, a Bajaur administration official, said the boys had been abducted by fighters allied with Taliban commander Maulvi Faqir Muhammad, who led  insurgents in Bajaur but is believed to have fled to Afghanistan in 2010.

"The kidnappers belonged to Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan's (TTP) Faqir Muhammad group, which used to operate in Bajaur," said Zeb.

Afghanistan shares a disputed 2,400km border with Pakistan, where Taliban fighters are believed to reside.

Another administration official, speaking anonymously, said security forces were stretched thin along parts of the frontier.

"It is a porous border and security cover is not available everywhere," he said.

The last similar incident was in June 2009 when hundreds of Pakistani  students from the tribal North Waziristan region were kidnapped by Pakistani Taliban as they travelled in a convoy of buses to the northwestern town of  Bannu after their college closed for its summer vacation.

All were later released unharmed.

Afghanistan and Pakistan blame each other for several recent cross-border attacks that have killed dozens and displaced hundreds of families.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.