Taliban had plans to abduct Indian diplomats: Pak deserters
Two deserters from a paramilitary force arrested for terror links have told Pakistani investigators that Taliban had specific plans to abduct Indian diplomats, including the High Commissioner, to swap them for detained militant commanders.world Updated: Apr 13, 2010 20:33 IST
Two deserters from a paramilitary force arrested for terror links have told Pakistani investigators that Taliban had specific plans to abduct Indian diplomats, including the High Commissioner, to swap them for detained militant commanders.
The militants also had plans to target foreign missions, including the US consulate in Peshawar.
The deposition by Noor Jahan Khan and Rehmat Gul, described as deserters from the Frontier Constabulary, set alarm bells ringing in the Pakistani security establishment, Western diplomatic and other sources told PTI.
During their interrogation, the two men said that militant groups, aligned to the Pakistani Taliban, had plans to abduct Indian diplomats, including the High Commissioner, to exchange them for militant commanders who are currently in the custody of Pakistani authorities, the sources said.
Significantly, this disclosure was made before a group of six heavily armed Taliban militants attempted to storm the US consulate on April 5, killing three persons.
The duo further told interrogators that the militants had plans to target Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and his close relatives and to attack the Dhodak oilfield in Punjab province, the sources said.
Security agencies have taken the revelations by Khan and Gul "very seriously" in the wake of the attack on the US consulate, sources said.
The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for that attack, one of the most audacious terrorist strikes witnessed in the country in the past few years.
It could not immediately be ascertained if the Pakistani authorities had alerted the Indian government about the threat to Indian diplomats.
However, stringent security measures have been put in place in the Indian High Commission and the High Commissioner's residence over the past year.
The six militants who carried out the attack on the US consulate in Peshawar exploded two suicide car bombs that damaged the outer security barrier but were unable to storm the compound.
Sources said one of the suicide car bombs was so powerful that it resulted in the death of two attackers who were standing some distance away.
The attack was meticulously planned and militants even dumped explosives at a site near the consulate. The explosives were later used to put together the suicide car bombs within Peshawar, the sources said.
Police in Islamabad announced the arrest of Khan and Gul on March 22. A suicide jacket was recovered from them. Khan's uniform was used by the militants to dodge security while transporting suicide vests to Islamabad, officials said. MORE