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Taliban claim beheading Polish hostage
Publish Date: Sunday,8 February, 2009, at 12:43 PM Doha Time


KOHAT: Taliban fighters beheaded a Polish hostage in Pakistan yesterday, 
according to a spokesman for the militants who said the body wouldn't be handed 
over until some captured Taliban were released. 

Speaking in Germany, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said his government had 
received "unofficial confirmation" Piotr Stancza, an engineer and a father of 
one, had been killed.  "We do not have a solid proof but we have received 
unofficial confirmation that this tragedy indeed took place," Tusk told 
reporters in Munich in comments broadcast live on Polish TV. 

The Taliban spokesman, identified only as Mohammed, told Reuters Stancza, 42, 
was killed because Pakistani authorities failed to free the militants before a 
deadline expired at midnight on Friday.  "We have killed the man after 
authorities refused to release our colleagues," the Taliban spokesman said. "We 
will now only hand over his body after our demands are met." 

He said Stanza was executed in the south Waziristan tribal region, a known 
haven for Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters. 
An intelligence official in the region, who requested anonymity, said the 
Taliban had demanded Rs200,000 ($2,540) in exchange for the body. Officials 
were unable to verify the Taliban claim, and the two principal hostage 
negotiators handling Stancza's case could not be reached for comment. 

Speaking on the sidelines of a security conference in Munich, Prime Minister 
Donald Tusk told reporters: "We have used every opportunity to avert this."  
Stancza was kidnapped on September 28 while visiting one of his company's sites 
near Attock city, about 65km west of the capital, Islamabad.  Gunmen shot dead 
his Pakistani driver, bodyguard and translator before taking him hostage.  
Militants had demanded 60 of their comrades should be freed, but later cut 
their demand to four of their top men and negotiations have intensified over 
the past 10 days. 

Attacks on foreign aid workers, company employees and diplomats have increased 
in Pakistan over the past year, especially in areas near the border with 
Afghanistan, where Taliban and Al Qaeda militants are battling government 
forces. 
An American heading the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) 
office in southwestern province of Baluchistan, was abducted last week and his 
driver was shot dead. 

Two Chinese telecommunication engineers, two Afghan diplomats and an Iranian 
diplomat were kidnapped in northwest Pakistan, though one of the Chinese later 
escaped.  - Reuters

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