Poland Calls on U.S. to Help Find Beheading Culprits

Poland has asked the U.S. for support in hunting down the Taliban militants suspected in the beheading of a Polish engineer in Pakistan, the nation's foreign minister said Tuesday.

Radoslaw Sikorski said Poland's ambassador in Washington has submitted a note to the U.S. State Department "with a request for support for our efforts to capture the killers." He added that Warsaw has filed the same request with other countries, but did not specify which ones.

The State Department confirmed Tuesday that Poland had requested the assistance.

"Previously we had been providing assistance in Poland's efforts to secure Mr. Stanczak's freedom. We will continue to provide assistance as Poland seeks those responsible for this heinous crime," said Mark Toner, a spokesman for the department's European bureau.

Sikorski said Poland is also offering a 1 million zloty ($290,000) reward for information that would lead to the arrest of those who killed Polish engineer Piotr Stanczak. Warsaw also has plans to issue an international warrant for their arrest.

"Today, Poland is going to focus on carrying out its investigation and capturing and putting the culprits on trial," Prime Minister Donald Tusk said. "We have enough examples, as well as patience and the means, to bring the case to a just end."

Authorities received a video Sunday purportedly showing Pakistani militants beheading Stanczak. Sikorski told reporters that the Pakistani Foreign Ministry officially confirmed Stanczak's death earlier Tuesday, but still had no information on the fate of his body.

Speaking at a joint news conference alongside Sikorski, Tusk said it wasn't clear how the Pakistani authorities were able to confirm the death without the body.

Officials have said that a seven-minute video purporting to show the 42-year-old's slaying appeared authentic.

Also Tuesday, Polish Senate Speaker Bogdan Borusewicz called off a three-day visit to Warsaw this week by Pakistani lawmakers, but said it should not be seen as an unfriendly gesture. He said its timing would have been inappropriate in the aftermath of the killing, which has horrified the country.

Poland's Foreign Ministry demanded action from Islamabad to apprehend those responsible.

"We categorically demand from Pakistan's authorities the capture of the culprits of this crime and their punishment with the full severity this act demands," the ministry said in a statement.

It called on Pakistan's government to recover Stanczak's body so it can be returned to Poland and his family.

The release of the video has dominated headlines and political talk shows since copies of the tape were delivered to journalists in Pakistan.

Polish President Lech Kaczynski and Prime Minister Donald Tusk both took out space in the country's national newspapers Tuesday to express their condolences to Stanczak's family.

Justice Minister Andrzej Czuma alleged Monday that the militants had the support of some Pakistani officials. Pakistan's top diplomat in Poland denied the accusation, saying the government was doing all it could to combat terrorism.

Stanczak was kidnapped close to the Afghan border on Sept. 28 by armed men while he was surveying oil and gas fields for a Krakow-based geophysics company. The gunmen killed three Pakistanis traveling with the engineer.