The Taliban abducted 30 Pakistani boys on Thursday but it is still unclear whether the children were kidnapped after they accidentally crossed the border into Afghanistan or whether they were lured there.
Some reports are suggesting that the boys were picnicking along the porous northwest Pakistani border with Afghanistan when they accidentally crossed over into unmarked Afghan territory and were kidnapped by members of the Taliban insurgency.
However, other reports suggest that the children were lured into Afghanistan after a man invited them to play in a river in Afghanistan’s Kunar province, right across the border.
The boys were visiting Pakistan’s Bajaur tribal region for the second day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr when they were kidnapped by the militant group.
It is also unclear how old the boys are with some reports suggesting they are between 10 to 15 years old, with others suggest that the boys range between 12 to 18 years old.
The BBC reported that some of the older children managed to escape the abduction, but so far no news has been made public as to if tribal elders had tried to arrange their release yet.
According to the Associated Press, children under the age of 12 were released Friday, the day after they were abducted.
Syed Nasim, a local official of the Bajaur region, told the AFP news agency, “These boys inadvertently crossed into Afghanistan while picnicking on the second day of Eid and were kidnapped by militants.”
The disputed lengthy and porous border between the two countries has long been a point of contention. Security is simply not available for the 2,400 km border and recent months have witnessed heightened insecurity with several bloody cross border raids.
Kidnappings of children have occurred in the past. In 2009, dozens of children were abducted when they were traveling aboard a convoy; however, they were released after a few days.
Pakistani officials have previously accused the Taliban of using kidnappings as a way to acquire ransom to fund their cross-border insurgency.