KHAR, Pakistan (AFP) – Taliban rebels decapitated four pro-government tribal elders in a Pakistan border region where the army is fighting Al-Qaeda and extremist militants, officials said Saturday.
It was the second killing this week in Bajaur of tribal elders, who have established an armed force to support the government’s military campaign against Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters in the area.
“This morning locals reported bodies of four tribal elders were lying on roadside,” local administration official Mohammad Jamil told AFP, adding that the bodies showed extensive signs of torture.
A security official who declined to be named said the beheadings had been done by Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants to scare the local population away from supporting the army operations.
Four other pro-government elders were beheaded and their bodies found on Thursday.
The army says more than 1,000 rebel fighters have been killed since it launched an offensive in Bajaur in early August, including Al-Qaeda’s operational commander in the region, Egyptian Abu Saeed Al-Masri.
Pakistan‘s tribal zone has been wracked by violence since thousands of Taliban and Al-Qaeda rebels sneaked into the country after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001.