Pakistani Taliban Release Video of Swiss Hostages

by Florian Flade

CORRECTION: Previously I wrongly mentioned Mr.Saifullah Mehsud as part of the Taliban movement. This is of course NOT TRUE. Mr.Saifullah Mehsud is the Director of the „FATA Research Center“ (http://www.frc.com.pk) a non partisan and non-political research organization based in Islamabad which focusses on analysis of political events in the Federal Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan. He is a key source when it comes to the case of the Swiss hostages.

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The Tehrik e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) that captured the two Swiss nationals David O. and Daniela W. in July have released two video messages by the hostages, both of them showing the Swiss couple alive, pleeing for their release.

In the first video David O. and Daniela W. of the Canton Berne are seen sitting inside a building during nighttime.

„A new announcement for the Swiss government but also for the Pakistani government and the American government“, David O. says in English, „We are still in danger here. Please let go Mister Aafia Siddiqi from America. So please also let go the prisoners that Pakistan have from the Taliban. Let them go because we are in danger and we have much of a problem if you don’t make what this person want.“

In the second video, both hostages are sitting in front of four masked Taliban fighters, three of them holding AK-47s to the hostages´ heads. The Swiss couple speaks for about four minutes in their mothertongue Swiss-German. David O. presents a the Pakistani daily newspaper „Dawn“ September 15th issue to the camera, proving the date the video was recorded.

„We fear for our lives“, David O. pleads, „Please, please finally agree to these demands!“

Swiss nationals David O. and Daniela W. were on a private journey touring Iran and then crossing into southern Pakistan´s region of Balochistan where they were kidnapped. The couple was then taken to the Waziristan tribal areas controlled by various local warlords and terrorist groups including the Tehrik e-Taliban and the Haqqani network. Both hostages are believed to be held near the town of Miranshah in the North Waziristan Agency.

According to information from Pakistan, the Taliban commander Wali ur-Rehman who claims to hold the hostages, is demanding the release of about 100 imprisoned Taliban militants and a ransom of about 3 Million US-Dollars. A very specific demand by the TTP was made public a few months ago: Allegedly the TTP want the Pakistani scientist Aafia Siddiqi to be released from U.S. custody.

Siddiqi was arrested by U.S. forces on the accusation of being an Al-Qaida operative. During interrogation tried to kill an American soldier by grabbing his gun and was sentenced to 86 years in prison by a U.S. court in September 2010.

5 Antworten zu “Pakistani Taliban Release Video of Swiss Hostages

  1. j. von hettlingen

    The Swiss media reported that Mr. Saifullah Mahsud, director of the Fata Research in Islamabad had been in contact with the TTP. He delivered the demand of the TTP that a ransom of $ 3 million should be paid and100 prisoners be released by the Pakistani authorities in exchange for the freedom of the two Swiss hostages. Do let the Swiss go. They are ordinary people and the ransom would be a huge financial burden for them!

  2. Dear Mr Florian Flade, many thanks for correcting the earlier mistake. It is much appreciated.
    For the record, it was reported wrongly in the Swiss media that I was in contact with the TTP and that I delivered TTP’s ransom demand for $3 million. I was very clear in explaining to the journalist who interviewed me that we only have correspondents in FATA who get news regarding the Taliban from locals of FATA who sometimes act as envoys between the Taliban and the media/think tanks. I also very clearly told the journalist that we have heard UNCONFIRMED REPORTS from the area that the Taliban MAY demand $3 million and release of 100 of their colleagues from Pakistani custody. WE NEVER CONFIRMED THE NEWS AND NOR DOES OUR REPORT IN ANYWAY CONSTITUTE OFFICIAL TTP DEMANDS.
    The journalist who made the mistake in his report has already apologized and we have accepted it as a sincere mistake.
    I hope that my explanation here will make things clear for all concerned. Best Wishes!

  3. j. von hettlingen

    Thank you, Mr. Mahsud for your information. I have been writing in my blogs on GPS/CNN, New York Times and Washington Post about the two hostages, hoping they would reach the abductors. The Swiss media hasn’t really covered the story intensively and I find it a shame.

  4. j. von hettlingen

    Dear Mr. Mahsud,
    It would be interesting for me to know whether the journalist, who interviewed you regarding the two Swiss hostages, was Ms. Eliane Engeler. I watched her on the Swiss German TV once and I wasn’t convinced by what she said.

    • saifullah mahsud

      Dear Mr Hettlingen,
      Many thanks for your comment. No, it wasn’t Eliane. I have been contacted by a number of Swiss journalists, including Miss Eliane, since the unfortunate incident took place. Some of them have gone on and exaggerated the info i provided them which is unfortunate given that the family and friends of the hostages might be following the news very closely. Having said that,since most of the Swiss publications are either in German or french, i am not always aware of if i have been quoted right.

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