South Asia

Pakistani boy describes escape from the Taliban

File photo of some of the kidnapped boys
Image caption The Taliban released photos of some of the kidnapped boys who remain in captivity last month

A boy who escaped from the Pakistani Taliban after being kidnapped near the tribal area of Bajaur has given details of his daring getaway.

Sixteen-year-old Abdullah told the BBC Urdu service he endured a gruelling trek across mountains while being pursued by his captors.

He said he and a friend walked and ran for nine hours to make it home.

The Taliban said they had kidnapped boys from the Mamund tribe because the tribe supported the government.

In all, about 30 boys were snatched. Abdullah and his friend were abducted at the beginning of September and escaped from their captors last week.

The group of youths - some reported to be as young as 10 - were kidnapped when they were taking a bath in a spring on the Afghan side of the border.

It is thought that the rest of them remain in Taliban captivity.

'Treated us nicely'

Abdullah - known only by his first name - told the BBC Urdu service's Dilawar Khan Wazir that during more than 40 days of captivity he was held in a room at night and moved to a ravine by day.

He was not handcuffed or blindfolded and his clothes were laundered by the militants when they needed to be washed.

"They made us walk for an hour to a place we didn't know, and divided us into three groups," Abdullah said.

"Each group was kept at a separate place, and armed Taliban would keep vigil day and night."

They were given dried bread and tea for breakfast and would also eat cold rice and kidney beans.

Once during their captivity the Taliban slaughtered a goat and let their captives eat meat.

"We used to tell them that that we were happy with them and wouldn't want to go back home," Abdullah said.

"So they began to treat us nicely and would let us go far into the fields so that we could use the toilet."

Abdullah said that the dash for freedom last week took place one morning when he went into the gorge with his friend Amanullah to go to the toilet.

The pair noticed that they were were out of sight of the Taliban, so they started to run.

"After a while we saw three armed Taliban running after us but we took cover in the bushes and continued to move," the teenager said.

"The Taliban who were chasing us did not fire their guns. We kept on running for maybe three hours."

Abdullah said that he and his friend avoided both Afghan and Pakistani army patrols and eventually reached their home village in the Mamund area of Pakistan after about nine hours of walking and running.

"When I saw my parents, all the tiredness and fatigue disappeared," Abdullah said.