Taliban release video of Polish hostage's beheading


PESHAWAR: February 8, 2009. (AFP) Pakistani Taliban militants released a graphic video Sunday showing the beheading of a Polish engineer whom they said was killed because Islamabad refused to free detained insurgents.

The tape, seen by an AFP correspondent here, was released one day after a spokesman for Pakistan's umbrella Taliban group said its men had decapitated Piotr Stanczak, who was seized in the volatile northwest on September 28. Pakistan has seen a number of kidnappings of foreign nationals in recent months, many of them in the northwest, where Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants have been holed up since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001. Authorities in Islamabad are also hunting for an American UN worker abducted a week ago in the southwestern city of Quetta. A shadowy ethnic Baluch rebel group has claimed responsibility for that kidnapping. Stanczak, who was working in Pakistan for a Polish energy company, was seized by armed men in the town of Attock, about 70 kilometres (45 miles) northwest of the capital Islamabad. His two drivers and bodyguard were killed. The video released by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) shows Stanczak sitting cross-legged on a carpet, wearing a khaki shalwar kameez. he Polish man made a brief statement in English in response to questions posed by his captors, urging his government to withdraw its contingent of about 1,100 troops from Afghanistan, where they are helping fight Taliban insurgents. In the next scene, Stanczak is sitting in the same position, but blindfolded. A masked man is shown beheading him with a knife, while two men stand guard behind him, holding AK-47s at the hostage's head.

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