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Taliban seize troops in fort attack

Taliban fighters have attacked a paramilitary fort in north-west Pakistan, killing one soldier and kidnapping 15 others, police have said.

The brazen attack was followed by a statement to media in which the militants said they would kill the abducted troops.

Armed with assault rifles, at least 35 militants targeted the Frontier Corps fort in Tank district before dawn, said local police chief Ejad Abid. The militants burned down buildings and captured a significant amount of weapons, he said.

One soldier was killed and two were wounded in the fighting. Another 15 are still missing and believed to have been kidnapped, he said.

A Pakistan Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the attack in a phone call to The Associated Press and said it was carried out to avenge the death of a local Taliban commander. He claimed 30 soldiers were kidnapped.

But another Taliban commander who said he carried out the attack, Asmatullah Shaheen, told AP that he had 15 soldiers in his custody. Some others managed to escape after the militants captured them, he said.

Mr Abid said at least 22 soldiers were missing originally, but seven managed to return.

Mr Shaheen said the militant commander being avenged, Taj Gul, was killed in a US drone strike in October in South Waziristan, an important sanctuary for the Pakistani Taliban next to Tank. The militants attacked the Pakistani soldiers in response because of the country's alliance with the US, he said.

Ehsanullah Ehsan, the Pakistan Taliban spokesman, said the militants have no intention of bargaining for the kidnapped soldiers' release and intend to kill them.

"We are going to cut these soldiers into pieces one by one, and we will send these pieces to their commanders," he said.

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