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PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) – Taliban fighters on Wednesday forced 30 captive Pakistani security officers to quit their jobs in exchange for freedom, dealing an embarrassing blow to an army battling to control the Swat valley.
The militants kidnapped 30 police and paramilitary personnel at night when security forces halted efforts to break a siege at a village police post, underscoring the huge challenges facing the authorities in the northwest.
Despite a wave of government offensives, the military has failed to impose its authority on the valley, once a scenic holiday resort near the border with Afghanistan where Islamists are waging a bloody campaign to enforce Sharia law.
"They have given assurances to the Taliban that they would quit their jobs and will take no part in any activity against the Taliban," a senior security official told AFP on condition of anonymity.