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NATO starts aerial surveillance of Pak Taliban sanctuaries in Afghanistan

Islamabad, Tue, 13 Sep 2011 ANI

Islamabad, Sept 13(ANI): The NATO has begun aerial surveillance of Pakistani Taliban sanctuaries in the border regions of Afghanistan, days after a leader of the terrorist outfit presented footage of several Pakistani boys who had been abducted by militants in the border tribal region of Bajaur.


ISAF Commander General John Allen informed Pakistani military leaders that NATO had now started air surveillance of Pakistani Taliban sanctuaries in Afghanistan's eastern Kunar and Nuristan province, The Express Tribune reports.


General Allen, who was on his first visit to Pakistan on Wednesday after taking over the coalition command in Afghanistan, also hinted at air strikes being part of the aerial surge, depending on actionable intelligence, the report said.


Meanwhile, the Afghan Government has sought the help of tribal elders to help secure the release of the 30 boys who were initially believed to have mistakenly crossed the border while on an Eid outing in Bajaur Agency on September 1.


Mohammad Omar Daudzai, Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan, confirmed that Pakistani authorities, including Interior Minister Rehman Malik, had formally asked the Afghan government's help for the safe release of kidnapped boys.


"We have started efforts for the safe release of all the Pakistani boys. We have approached elders from Bajaur region, now living in Afghanistan, to talk to the armed men holding the boys," the paper quoted Daudzai, as saying.


He said that elders from Bajaur tribal areas had been living in Afghanistan's Kunar and Nuristan provinces for nearly two years after crossing into Afghanistan as a result of military operations.


Daudzai said that Afghan President Hamid Karzai has also personally instructed the provincial 'Shura' or council of elders in Kunar to play their role in the release of the boys.


"The Afghan authorities have started efforts for the release of all boys, but we are still not sure if the kidnappers are holding them in Afghan territory," the Afghan envoy said.


He also said there was a strong possibility that the militants had brought the boys into Afghan territory temporarily to present them to Afghan reporters, and then 'again shifted them to remote areas on the Pakistani side' of the border. (ANI)


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