October 4, 2015 / 7:29 PM / 2 years ago

Pakistani Taliban says hanged military officer as revenge for executions

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (Reuters) - The Pakistani Taliban has hanged a military intelligence officer in retaliation for recent executions of militants by Pakistan, the militant Islamist group said in videos released on Sunday.

Reuters could not independently authenticate the two videos and a Pakistani military spokesman was not immediately able to comment on them.

Pakistan reinstated the death penalty last December after Taliban gunmen massacred 134 school children. Since then the Taliban have staged several deadly attacks, but the videos of the hanging appear to be the first staged execution of a military officer since the restoration of the death penalty.

In the first video, a man identifies himself as Bashir Ahmad Khan, originally from the 19th army air defense unit and later recruited by Pakistan’s military intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence.

“We were trained to trace the Taliban’s training camps,” said the man identified as Khan. He was dressed in plain brown traditional Pakistani clothes and surrounded by armed men wearing masks and camouflage. One unmasked man in white robes kneels beside him.

Two men hold a black banner in the background that is embroidered with the kalma, a Muslim declaration of faith.

In the second video, Khan is shown wrapped in a Pakistani flag, his eyes bound with black cloth and a noose around his neck. One of the masked men says: “The hanging of Bashir Ahmad is our response to the Pakistani government who are busy hanging our group members. This is just the beginning and all those who are in our custody or those who have any links with the Pakistan government will face the same treatment.” ​

After the masked man finishes speaking, he pushes Khan off a rock. As Khan dangles from the rope around his neck, other militants shoot at his body and shout: “God is great.”

The videos were provided by Maqbool Dawar, a Taliban commander in the mountainous border region of North Waziristan who is known to Reuters. He did not comment on when or where the video was shot.

Taliban violence in Pakistan has fallen overall since the military launched an offensive in North Waziristan in June 2014. But the militants have demonstrated that they are still able to carry out sophisticated attacks.

In December, Taliban gunmen killed 134 school children at an army-run school in the northern city of Peshawar. In September, the Taliban killed 39 people when they attacked Badaber air base in the same city.

The school massacre was the deadliest militant attack in the history of Pakistan. The air base attack was the deadliest by militants on a military installation.

Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Gareth Jones

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