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Taliban Militants Burn Villages In Northwestern Pakistan

Damaged houses in a village in Pakistan's Kurram tribal district.
Damaged houses in a village in Pakistan's Kurram tribal district.
Local residents say Taliban militants have burned three villages in northwestern Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan, RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal reports.

People in the Central Kurram tribal district told RFE/RL on August 8 that the small villages were vacated by tribesmen who took up arms against the Taliban in the region a few weeks ago. The witnesses said the Taliban burned the deserted villages on the night of August 7 and abducted more than twenty people.

Local resident Muhammad Janan said that the kidnapped people were reportedly taken to the Taliban's main center in the Kurram tribal district.

"The total number [of those abducted] is around 21 [from various villages]," he said. "They are from the Mandokhel sub-tribe of the Masozai tribe."

Another resident, Mir Kandar, said the Taliban also burned villages vacated by local people who fled to safer areas because of the fighting. According to him, no one was killed or injured in the burnings.

"Each village consists of between 50-60 houses," he said. "Around 15 villages have been burned since the start of the fighting in the area."

The Kurram tribal district has a long history of sectarian clashes between local Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims.