Pakistani militants behead anti-Taliban militiamen

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By RIAZ KHAN, Associated Press

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — Militants beheaded three members of an anti-Taliban militia in northwestern Pakistan and kidnapped three others, a government official said Tuesday.

Dozens of militants took part in the attack Monday in the Khyber tribal area, said Iqbal Khan, a government administrator in the nearby city of Peshawar. Authorities are investigating which militant group was involved in the attack, which took place in the Bara area of Khyber, said Khan.

The Pakistani government has long encouraged local tribesmen to set up militias to fight against the Taliban and other militant groups, but many militiamen have been killed in attacks.

The attack in Bara took place as Pakistan's major political parties passed a resolution in support of holding peace talks with local militants as the best way to tamp down an insurgency that has killed thousands of people in recent years.

But there are many skeptics of negotiations in the country. The government has struck multiple peace deals with militants in Pakistan in recent years, and nearly all of them have fallen apart. Critics believe the deals simply gave the militants time to regroup and continue their fight against the state.

The military has launched scores of operations against the Pakistani Taliban and their allies in the country's northwest, but the militants have proved resilient and continue to carry out regular attacks.

As politicians were debating peace talks in Islamabad on Monday, militants fought with police outside a court in the northwest city of Kohat, said police official Fazal Naeem. One policeman and two militants were killed in the fighting, while 13 other people were wounded, he said. One militant escaped.

The two militants who were killed were wearing suicide vests and aimed to detonate their explosives in the court, said Naeem.

On Tuesday, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan announced that officials in his ministry would work seven days a week to deal with the poor security situation in the country, the government said in a statement.

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