MULTAN, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistani counterterrorism forces have detained 13 local militants who were trying to set up an Islamic State affiliate, two officials said Tuesday.
The men were captured this week during a raid on a home in the eastern Punjab province.
The officials said authorities seized weapons and CDs from the detained men, who allegedly pledged allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
“Our initial information is that some of the detained men are former members of the Pakistani Taliban,” one official said. The second official said arrests were made after communication intercepts. They refused to share any further details, saying the investigation was still at an early stage.
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The officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to brief reporters.
They said 9 of the 13 men were brought before a court Tuesday, which allowed them to be held for up to 10 days for questioning.
Local authorities insist the Syria and Iraq-based IS group has no footprint in Pakistan, which has long battled the Taliban and other homegrown militants.
Associated Press writer Munir Ahmed in Islamabad contributed to this report.