This summer, 9 mountain climbers and 2 others were murdered while in the 26,660-foot Nanga Parbat base camp in Pakistan by the Taliban. This is the Outside Magazine story explaining exactly what happened to our fellow outdoorsman. It’s very heavy.
On the evening of June 22, some 16 to 20 local villagers disguised as Gilgit paramilitary officers hiked into base camp on the Diamir side of Pakistan’s 26,660-foot Nanga Parbat, the ninth-tallest mountain on earth, shouting in English: “Taliban! Al Quaeda! Surrender! Some fifty climbers from many different countries were on the mountain at the time, and more than a dozen were hanging out at base, waiting for better weather and acclimatizing before heading up to higher camps. The intruders roused these mountaineers from their tents, tied them up, and forced them onto their knees at gunpoint.
The attackers first demanded money. Interviewed by Peter Miller forNational Geographic, Sehr Khan, a Pakistani climber in camp at the time, recalled one of the men saying, “We know you can speak English. Ask them who has money in their tents.” Khan continued: “Everybody was scared. We all said, ‘Yes, we have money.’ The foreigners said, ‘Yes, we have Euros. Yes, we have dollars.’ And, one by one, they took climbers to their different tents and collected the money.”
The intruders next destroyed all the cell phones, satellite phones, and two-way radios they could find. “[S]uddenly, I heard the sound of shooting,” Kahn recounted. “I looked a little up and what I saw was this poor Ukrainian guy, who had been tied with me, I saw him sitting down. Then after that moment, the shooting started in bursts. Brrrr. Brrrr. Brrrr. Three times like that. Then the leader, this stupid ugly man, said, ‘Now stop firing. Don’t fire anybody.’ Then that son of a bitch came in between the dead bodies and he personally shot them one by one. Dun. Dun. Dun. Afterward we heard slogans, like ‘Allahu Akbar,’ ‘Salam Zindabad,’ ‘Osama bin Laden Zindabad.’”
Several of the climbers pleaded, “I am not American! I am not American!,” to no avail. In the midst of the carnage, one of the few survivors heard an assassin proclaim, “Today, these people are revenge for Osama bin Laden.” Yet only one of the victims was an American citizen, and he was Chinese-born. Two others were Chinese, three were Ukrainians, two Slovaks, one Lithuanian, and one a Sherpa from Nepal. The cook was a Pakistani. In all, 11 people were killed. – David Roberts/Outside Magazine
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