Taliban militants say they have killed 23 abducted paramilitary Frontier Corps members in northwest Pakistan amid media speculation that a ceasefire was to be announced by the militant group in 24 hours. In a letter and video circulated on social media on Sunday night, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan said that the paramilitary personnel abducted in June 2010 from the Shongari checkpoint in the Mohmand tribal region were shot to avenge custodial killings of Taliban fighters by authorities during the past few days. "We have been constantly warning the government through media that it refrains from killing our captured fighters," the Taliban's Mohmand Agency chief Umar Kharasani said. "We want to make it clear to the government that we know how to avenge the killing of our fighters. If the government does not stop this, our future response will be even more severe," he threatened. Although there was no word from the government or military about the authenticity of the Taliban's claim, Altaf Hussain, chief of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, a liberal political party, condemned the killings of the paramilitary troops and demanded decisive action be taken against the militants in 48 hours. "Time has come to make a decision now. Any further delay could harm Pakistan and its security," Hussain said in a statement. This came hours after local media reported that the Taliban's political council had decided in principle to announce a temporary ceasefire within 24 hours. Elsewhere in Pakistan on Sunday, a powerful bomb blast derailed a passenger train in southwest Pakistan, killing eight people and wounding 32 others. The blast occurred in Tangwani, in Kashmor district of Sindh province. Kashmor adjoins Baluchistan province, where ethnic Baloch separatists are waging a low-scale insurgency. It was the third such attack on trains this year. Insurgents detonated the bomb with a remote controlled device while a second bomb was later diffused by the bomb squad, Federal Railway Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique said at a press conference in Lahore.
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