The following report suggests that the kidnapping and beheading of the Polish engineer was carried out by Lashkar-e-Jhangavi /Sipah-e-Sahaba, the local-sponsors of Al Qaeda and Taliban in Pakistan…
Taliban Says It Killed a Polish Contractor in Pakistan
By JANE PERLEZ and ISMAIL KHAN
Published: February 7, 2009
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A Polish engineer who was kidnapped by the Taliban last September was killed by his captors Friday night after negotiations with the government for his release collapsed, a Taliban spokesman said on Saturday.
A spokesman for the president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, said initial reports received by the government showed that the engineer, Piotr Stanczak, had been killed but the authorities were awaiting final confirmation. In Poland, the prime minister, Donald Tusk, said he had received reports that Mr. Stanczak had been killed.
Mr. Stanczak, who was shown in a video on Pakistani television in October pleading for his release, was one of several foreigners captured by the Taliban in recent months, evidence of the increasingly grim security situation in the country.
He appears to be the first Western captive killed by Islamic militants in Pakistan since the murder of Daniel Pearl, a Wall Street Journal correspondent, in January 2002.
Mr. Stanczak worked for a Polish firm under contract with a Pakistani state enterprise, the Oil and Gas Development company, and was kidnapped in an ambush on his way to work in Attock, 70 miles northeast of the capital.
A diplomat from Afghanistan, and another from Iran, who were captured in separate ambushes in the chaotic city of Peshawar in the North-West Frontier Province late last year, are still being held by militants.
A Chinese telephone technician captured in the Swat Valley last year is also in Taliban hands. An American aid worker, Stephen D. Vance, was shot and killed on his way to work in Peshawar in November.
Last week, a senior United Nations refugee official in Pakistan, John Solecki, an American, was kidnapped on his way to work in the southwestern city of Quetta. On Saturday, a little-known separatist group called the Baluchistan Liberation United Front claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and issued a set of demands.
A Polish diplomat in Islamabad, Wieslaw Kucharek, said Saturday that a special Polish envoy from Warsaw met with President Zardari in December to seek help for the engineer’s release. The Pakistani leader gave assurances that Pakistan would do all possible to win the engineer’s release, Mr. Kucharek said.
A Taliban spokesman, who called himself Muhammad, called several Pakistani television reporters early Saturday morning, saying the Taliban had killed Mr. Stanczak because the government had failed to release militants being held in prison, said Fakhar Kakakhel, the Peshawar bureau chief of the AAJ television network. In October, Mr. Kakakhel had been taken blindfolded by the Taliban to shoot the video of Mr. Stanczak, who sat before two masked men pointing rifles at him, begging for his freedom.
On Saturday, the spokesman told Mr. Kakakhel that the body of Mr. Stanczak would be released only if the government met the militants’ demands, Mr. Kakakhel said. The demands included releasing Taliban prisoners and ending military operations against the Taliban in the area of Darra Adamkhel, a Taliban-controlled town on the edge of the tribal region in the North-West Frontier Province.
Because the Taliban were refusing to show the body of Mr. Stanczak, some Pakistani intelligence officials said they believed that the militants’ were bluffing and that the Pole might still be alive.
Negotiations between the Pakistani government and a branch of the Taliban umbrella group in Pakistan, Tehrik-i-Taliban, which was holding Mr. Stanczak, intensified this week when the Taliban set a series of deadlines that ended Friday, Mr. Kakakhel said.
Tehrik-i-Taliban is headed by Baitullah Mehsud, whose forces are battling the Pakistani Army in increasingly large swaths of the country.
Mr. Stanczak had been held for some time in Darra Adamkhel, intelligence officials said. At one point he was moved to Makine in North Waziristan, a stronghold of Mr. Mehsud, the officials said.
The major sticking point in the negotiations, according to Mr. Kakakhel and intelligence officials involved in the talks, was the refusal of the militants to settle for a ransom offered by the Polish and the Pakistani governments rather than the release of the prisoners.
The Pakistani government refused to budge on the release of any prisoners, they said.
Among the militants whose release the Taliban demanded was Omar Saeed Sheikh, who was found guilty of conspiring to kill Mr. Pearl and is appealing his death sentence from a jail in Pakistan.
The negotiations were continuing Friday night when at 10 p.m. the captors demanded the release of four fairly low-level Taliban fighters belonging to Lashkar-i-Jhangi, a banned militant outfit, Pakistani intelligence officials said.
At that point, the Interior Ministry informed the Taliban that the government would check in which prison the four fighters were being held and get back to the captors, the intelligence officials said. The Taliban never responded.
Pakistan’s tribal region has for generations served as a virtually impenetrable hiding place for kidnappers who made their living from ransoms, said Talat Masood, a prominent Pakistani journalist who works for AAJ television.
“What is surprising is the inability of the government to get people out alive even though they are willing to put any amount of money on the table,” Mr. Masood said.
The life of other hostages (from China, Iran, Afghanistan and the USA)are in danger. BBC Urdu dot com reports:
Also read another relevant report:
(Tanvir Qaiser Shahid)