Eight Aid Workers Kidnapped in Pakistan

Posted July 19th, 2011 at 10:05 am (UTC-5)
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Officials in southwestern Pakistan say gunmen have kidnapped eight Pakistani employees of a U.S.-based aid organization.

Authorities said Tuesday the aid workers from the American Refugee Committee were kidnapped late Monday in Baluchistan province after distributing food to Afghan refugees.

Baluchistan has faced an Islamist militancy, a local insurgency, and sectarian violence between majority Sunnis and minority Shi'ite Muslims.

Kidnappings in the area have been common, including five mining officials who were seized Sunday by tribal rebels.

Earlier this month, two Swiss tourists were kidnapped at gunpoint while traveling through Baluchistan in a car.

In northwest Pakistan, military officials say at eight militants and a soldier were killed in a clash in the Kurram tribal agency, where Pakistan recently launched an offensive against militants.

Elsewhere in the tribal region, intelligence officials say a vehicle carrying Taliban militants hit a roadside bomb Tuesday, killing five insurgents in South Waziristan.

The officials said the slain insurgents were affiliated with militant leader Maulvi Nazir. His fighters are said to cross the border to attack U.S. and NATO troops in neighboring Afghanistan.