Center for Strategic Communication

The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan claimed to have “chopped off the heads” of seven Pakistani soldiers after attacking a military outpost in South Waziristan. In all, the Taliban claimed to have killed 20 Pakistani soldiers during the attack.

The claim was made yesterday by Ishanullah Ihsan, the spokesman for the al Qaeda-linked Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, in an email sent to The Long War Journal.

Ihsan said that 20 Pakistani troops were killed after the Taliban attacked their camp in Badar, and that 29 assault rifles, three RPGs, a machinegun, a sniper rifle, a submachine gun, and “thousands of cartridges and many small military equipments” were seized during the raid. Ihsan said seven of the soldiers were beheaded in accordance with sharia, or Islamic Law.

“Mujahideen also chopped off the heads of 7 captured soldiers as Shariah directs them to do with enemies of Islam,” Ihsan said.

In the past, the Taliban previously released videos of the execution and beheading of Pakistani troops. On June 28, a video showing the heads of 17 Pakistani soldiers who had served in the district of Dir was released by the Taliban.

Pakistani officials confirmed that fighting took place at the Badar camp, and claimed that 18 Taliban fighters and only eight soldiers were killed during the clash, according to The Nation. Ihsan said that only one Taliban fighter was killed during the attack.

The Taliban have been battling the Pakistani military in the Mehsud areas of South Waziristan for nearly three years. In the fall of 2009, the military launched an operation to defeat the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, and in mid-November of that year claimed to have defeated the group in South Waziristan. But the Taliban group withdrew the bulk of its forces from the Mehsud tribal areas and relocated to neighboring tribal areas, maintaining a rearguard to fight the Pakistani military.

The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan’s South Waziristan branch, which is led by Waliur Rahman Mehsud, later returned to the tribal agency and stepped up the fight against the Pakistani military. Most of the engagements in South Waziristan are initiated by the Taliban, who have assaulted bases and checkposts, and ambushed military convoys.

Although it is now nearly three years since the Pakistani military commenced the South Waziristan operation, only one of the six areas targeted — Sararogha — has been certified by the military as cleared, according to a report in Dawn that was published on Aug. 5. The other five areas — Shawal, Sarwakai, Tairza, Makeen, and Ladha — are still contested.