AWAR (AFP) - Taliban fighters on Wednesday released 30 kidnapped police and paramilitary personnel on condition that they resign from their jobs, security officials told AFP.
"They have given assurances to the Taliban that they would quit their jobs and will take no part in any activity against the Taliban," said a senior security official on condition of anonymity. A Taliban spokesman confirmed that the kidnapped officials had been released under certain conditions, on which he did not elaborate.
"We have released the kidnapped police officials conditionally," Muslim Khan told AFP from Swat valley by telephone.
Earlier, Taliban militants kidnapped 30 policemen after they laid a punishing day-long siege to a police station. The abduction, carried out at night when police and army reinforcements had suspended efforts to break the siege, underscores the huge challenges facing the security services.
Thousands of Taliban besieged a police station in the area of Shamozai on Tuesday. The army was mobilised to rescue the police and break the circle of rebels, security officials said.
Clashes continued throughout the day but as dusk fell, the operation was suspended. Then, overnight, the Taliban broke into the office, kidnapped the officers and blew up the building, said Swat police chief Dilawar Khan. Khan said the rebels kidnapped 30 policemen.
An intelligence official based in Peshawar said that four paramilitary and police officers had been wounded in clashes with Taliban militants at the station.
In a related development, security and intelligence officials said that 50 militants were killed in military operations across the area from late Monday to Tuesday.
The death tolls are impossible to verify independently with the sprawling region effectively sealed off from the outside world.
Analysts believe the military is inadequately equipped to wage a successful counter-insurgency operation against militants who often melt seamlessly into the populace, while civilians are frequent victims of offensives.