Pakistan offers reward for militant chiefs, 'dead or alive'
Pakistan today slapped bounties on the heads of five Taliban and militant leaders, part of an ongoing manhunt for the masterminds of deadly attacks rocking the northwest.world Updated: Sep 27, 2009 17:03 IST
Pakistan on Sunday slapped bounties on the heads of five Taliban and militant leaders, part of an ongoing manhunt for the masterminds of deadly attacks rocking the northwest.
The five wanted men all hail from Khyber, a lawless tribal district on the border with Afghanistan where the military has recently turned its attention after wrapping up an anti-Taliban assault in nearby Swat valley.
One of the men is Mangal Bagh, head of banned militant organisation Lashkar-e-Islam (Army of Islam), who stands accused by officials of running torture centres and private jails in Khyber.
"Anyone who catches these people, dead or alive, or anyone who gives solid information leading to the arrest of these militant commanders will be rewarded with cash," said the advert in the English-language paper The News.
"These people are involved in the killing of innocent Muslims of Khyber agency and surrounding areas -- children are becoming orphans because of the bloody activities of these people," it added.
Bagh has a bounty of five million rupees (60,000 dollars) on his head, while two other Lashkar-e-Islam commanders and two Pakistani Taliban leaders have two-million-rupee rewards.
Shafirullah Khan, the top administrative official of Khyber agency, confirmed that the government had taken out the advertisement.
Islamabad has vowed to clear the northwest of Islamist militants blamed for the deaths of up to 2,100 people in attacks in the last two years.
In April, troops launched a blistering assault in a bid to dislodge Taliban fighters who advanced into Swat valley.
After declaring Swat clear of insurgents, the military began bombarding Khyber, spurred in part by the August 28 suicide bombing near the Torkham border crossing there which left 22 policemen dead.
Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, who had a five-million-dollar US bounty on his head, was killed in a US missile strike last month, while a number of Swat Taliban leaders have also been rounded up by the authorities.