Pakistani judge abducted by Taliban released, police say

A Pakistani judge who was kidnapped by gunmen over the weekend was freed on Monday amid a deadly crackdown by security forces that killed about six militants, officials said.

The judge was whisked away by 15 militants who intercepted his car on a highway in the northern town of Dera Ismail Khan on Saturday night, local police officer Naeem Khan said.

The kidnapping, which has been blamed on the Pakistani Taliban, prompted a crackdown by the army, with six militants killed in separate raids at the weekend, a military statement said.

The circumstances of the judge’s release were not clear, but officer Khan said he was freed in a raid.

He did not give any further details.

The Pakistani Taliban, a group different from their Afghan counterparts though both follow the same hard line interpretation of Sunni Islam, has stepped up violence in the region.

This month, the militants had killed several civilians in separate gun attacks in the town including six officials from Pakistan’s customs department.

The Pakistani Taliban was pushed back in a series of offensives starting in 2014, but has been seeking to regroup in Afghanistan since the fall of Kabul to the Afghan Taliban

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