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Taleban kidnap Chinese tourist in NW Pakistan ‘TTP faction behind the abduction’

PESHAWAR, Pakistan, May 20, (AFP): Taleban gunmen have kidnapped a Chinese tourist in northwest Pakistan, close to the militant-infested tribal areas, officials and an insurgent commander said Tuesday.

The man is the latest foreigner to be seized by militants in Pakistan. At least five others are known to be currently captive, including the elderly US aid worker Warren Weinstein, held since August 2011.

The Chinese man was abducted on Monday from Daraban, in restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province close to the border with Baluchistan province and South Waziristan tribal district, both of which are rife with insurgents. Officials said the man was apparently passing through the area by bike when he was taken. It was not clear exactly what the Chinese national was doing in the remote region but police said he entered from Baluchistan.

Tasnim Aslam, spokeswoman for the Pakistani foreign ministry, confirmed the kidnapping and told AFP that police had launched a search operation. China is one of Pakistan’s main allies, investing billions of dollars in infrastructure projects including nuclear power plants, dams and roads.

A faction of the Tehreek-e-Taleban Pakistan (TTP) said they were behind the abduction. “We have kidnapped the Chinese national and we claim responsiblity for it,” Abdullah Bahar, a commander in South Waziristan told AFP, adding that the man had been taken to a secret location on the Afghan border.

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