KHYBER AGENCY - The militants on Sunday released 73 people kidnapped from Tirah valley the other day.

Official sources said that militants had kidnapped 80 people on charges of selling drugs from an opium and hashish selling ‘grand fair’ held at the Haider Kandow area of Tirah Valley in Khyber Agency, bordering Afghanistan and of them 73 were released later, while seven persons are still in custody of the militants.

The militants also took away hundreds of kilograms of cannabis and Hasish from the area, said the sources.

They added that Sheikmal Khel tribesmen, a sub-clan of the Qamberkhel tribe, were segregated from others and were taken away by the militants.  On the other hand, according to unofficial sources, the number of kidnapped tribesmen is about 100 and they had been picked up for their involvement in the drug trade.  Meanwhile, security forces were also conducting a search operation in the area to rescue the abductees. However, there were conflicting reports about the number of people kidnapped and later released. One report said that Taliban had asked the villagers to refrain from holding a fair in the area but as the fair started they stormed the village and kidnapped 110 people.

The sources further informed that 40 people were later released while others were still in custody of Taliban.