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21 Pakistani security officers believed shot to death by Taliban

By Nasir Habib, CNN
December 29, 2012 -- Updated 2218 GMT (0618 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Bodies of 21 abducted security force officers found
  • Raids occurred outside Peshawar on Thursday, a government official says
  • Scores of suspected Taliban members descended on two base camps

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- The bodies of 21 Pakistani tribal police officers were found Saturday night, two days after they were abducted during a raid linked to the Taliban, a senior government official said.

Militants killed two security forces and captured 23 officers during an assault on two military posts Thursday, said Naveed Akbar, the official in Peshawar.

The 21 victims, shot to death, were found in a mountainous area known as Kohi Hassakhel, Akbar told CNN. An injured soldier managed to escape, while another was missing.

More than 200 people suspected to be members of the Pakistan Taliban conducted the actions, said Akbar.

The checkpoints are nearly two miles apart on the outskirts of Peshawar. The militants swamped the camps on foot and in vehicles. A gunfight lasting more than an hour ensued.

The Pakistan Taliban confirmed they took the security forces in custody. The personnel belonged to a tribal police force engaged in fighting militants. Officials initially said 21 had been abducted.

The northwestern region of Pakistan -- near the volatile border with Afghanistan -- has a large militant presence, and has been plagued by fighting.

CNN's Shaan Khan contributed to this report.

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