Pakistani students rescued after being taken captive by Taliban
From The New York Daily News
ISLAMABAD - Troops manning a checkpoint Tuesday rescued dozens of students, teachers and staff from a boys school who had been taken captive by militants in the northwest, the Pakistani military said.
The brazen abduction in North Waziristan on Monday was part of a string of militant actions in Pakistan's tribal belt, some of which the army says is aimed at distracting it from its offensive against the Taliban in the Swat Valley.
In brief comments Tuesday morning, Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said 80 people, 71 of them students, were found by forces manning a checkpoint in the Goryam area as their small convoy of vehicles, escorted by militants, were heading toward South Waziristan.
Earlier, officials had said police were negotiating with the Taliban via tribal elders for the captives.
"Everyone is safe and sound," Abbas said. "An exchange of fire took place, but the miscreants-terrorists fled the scene when they saw the strength of the armed forces."
A top area government official, Sardar Mohammed Abbas, told The Associated Press that all the kidnap victims were now rescued, though he gave the number as being 76. The army spokesman also indicated that the abduction crisis was over.
But details about the case have been murky to start with, and originally as many as 500 people were believed to have been abducted. Overnight, about 200 other students were traced to their homes. Local media reports on the numbers involved have varied wildly as well.
Posted on 06/02/2009 1:36 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax