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Taliban release video of beheaded Pakistani soldiers

The Taliban released a video Wednesday that they say shows the heads of 17 Pakistani soldiers captured in a cross-border raid from Afghanistan this week and then beheaded.

Meanwhile, a bomb in a railway station in Pakistan's southwest killed at least five people, police said.

A senior security official in Peshawar on Wednesday told the AFP the soldiers were targeted by attackers from the eastern Afghan province of Kunar in a raid that began Sunday night.

“Six troops were killed on the first day, then another seven were slaughtered the next day,” the official told AFP.

“Four were missing and now they have also been beheaded,” he said.

The Pakistani Taliban's bloody cross-border raid showed the threat still posed by the group, despite multiple army offensives. Increasingly, the militants have used sanctuaries in eastern Afghanistan to attack border areas in Pakistan's northwest.

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Pakistan has criticized NATO and Afghan forces for not doing enough to stop the attacks, but it has received little sympathy. The Afghan government and its allies have long faulted Pakistan for failing to target Afghan Taliban militants and their allies who use Pakistani territory to launch attacks in Afghanistan.

The Pakistani and Afghan Taliban are allies, but the former has focused on fighting the Pakistani government, while the latter has concentrated on attacking foreign and local forces in Afghanistan.

The Pakistani Taliban said in the video that they killed 18 soldiers, but 17 heads were displayed on a bloody white sheet on the ground. Several militants whose faces were covered were standing around the heads, holding weapons they said were captured from the soldiers.

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The Associated Press, which also reported the killings, said it obtained the video by email Wednesday from Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan.

“God has given us a great victory, we have killed them all. Four of the heads you can see are from Frontier Corps (paramilitary force), the rest are from the army,” an unseen commentator said in the video, according to the AFP report.

At the beginning of the video, a voice identified as that of Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud says the militants will continue to battle the army until Pakistan's government stops supporting the U.S. and enforces Islamic law throughout the country. It was unclear when the message was recorded.

The Pakistani military said previously that 13 troops were killed in the cross-border raid into the country's northwest Upper Dir region, and seven of them were beheaded. Four others were reported missing at the time. The military did not immediately respond to request for comment on the video.

The Pakistani Taliban and their allies have staged scores of bombings and other attacks against security forces and civilians in the country, killing thousands.

The railway station bombed Wednesday was located in Sibbi city in Baluchistan province, said police official Qasim Salachi. In addition to the five killed, 20 others were wounded, he said. The bomb went off just after a train had pulled into the station, and passengers were buying drinks and food.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Baluchistan has experienced decades of violence at the hands of separatists who demand a greater share of the province's natural resources. It is also believed to be a base of many Afghan Taliban militants.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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