Taliban kidnap Chinese national in Pakistan

Local Taliban leader says he intends to use the Chinese tourist to free jailed comrades in a prisoner exchange.

    Taliban fighters have kidnapped a Chinese tourist in northwest Pakistan, police officials said.

    Sadiq Baluch, a police officer, said the Chinese national's passport, bicycle and belongings were found on Tuesday.

    He said the man went missing on Monday from Dera Ismail Khan district of Daraban, in restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province close to the border with Balochistan province and South Waziristan tribal district.

    On Tuesday, a Pakistani Taliban group commander, Abdullah Bahar, claimed responsibility for kidnapping the tourist.

    "We have kidnapped the Chinese national and we claim responsiblity for it," Bahar, a commander in South Waziristan told AFP news agency, adding that the man had been taken to a secret location on the Afghan border.

    Bahar said the group would use the hostage to get comrades freed from Pakistani custody.

    Tasnim Aslam, spokeswoman for the Pakistani foreign ministry, confirmed the kidnapping and told AFP that police had launched a search operation.

    The man was the latest foreigner to be seized by fighters in Pakistan.

    At least five others are known to be currently captive, including the elderly US aid worker Warren Weinstein, held since August 2011.

    Baluch said the China tourist had apparently entered Pakistan from neighbouring India in April.

    The Chinese embassy in Islamabad could not be reached for comment, but in its report on the kidnapping China's state news agency Xinhua said an official had said the mission was "contacting Pakistan's relevant departments to verify the incident".

    SOURCE: AFP


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