- Associated Press - Monday, July 18, 2011

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — The Taliban released a video Monday showing fighters, in a hail of gunfire, executing 16 Pakistani tribal policemen captured in a cross-border raid from Afghanistan earlier this summer.

The video shows the policemen lined up on a hillside with their hands tied behind their backs, standing in front of armed Taliban fighters wearing scarves to hide their faces. Both the policemen and the insurgents are wearing shalwar kameez, the baggy shirt and pants common in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

One of the insurgents accused the men of executing six children from Pakistan‘s Swat Valley by firing squad.

“They are the enemies of the religion of Allah,” the man said of the police officers.

He and several other fighters then opened fire on the policemen, who crumpled to the ground. Several of them still were moaning, and one fighter walked down the line shooting the policemen in the head.

The video was posted on the LiveLeak video-sharing website and included a note saying the policemen were captured when the Taliban staged a cross-border raid from Afghanistan on June 1 in Pakistan‘s northwest Dir district.

Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, a Pakistani army spokesman, confirmed the contents of the video and said the Taliban fighters who executed the policemen came from the Swat Valley, an area that used to be controlled by the militant group. The Pakistani military launched a large offensive in Swat in 2009, but many of the fighters slipped across the border into Afghanistan.

Hundreds of Taliban fighters crossed into Upper Dir on June 1 from Afghanistan’s eastern Kunar province. They killed at least 30 members of the security forces over three days of fighting before being forced back across the border by the military, Gen. Abbas said.

The Pakistani military has complained that Afghan and NATO forces have not done enough to target Taliban sanctuaries in Kunar, where the U.S. withdrew most of its forces over the last year.

Afghanistan and the United States have criticized Pakistan for not doing enough to target sanctuaries on its side of the border filled with militants who regularly launch attacks against NATO troops in Afghanistan. The Afghan government also has accused Pakistan of firing hundreds of rockets into Kunar over the past few months and killing at least 40 people — an allegation denied by Pakistan.

Associated Press writer Zarar Khan contributed to this report.

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