Top official abducted in Pakistan’s Swat Valley

February 22nd, 2009 - 9:25 pm ICT by IANS  

TalibanMingora (Pakistan), Feb 22 (IANS) Suspected Taliban militants Sunday abducted a top government administrator and six guards in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, officials said.
District administrator Khushal Khan was going in his car to Mingora, the main town of Swat, when he was abducted by the suspected militants, The News reported.

The abductors have also kidnapped six of Khan’s bodyguards who were accompanying the official.

Khan was transferred to Swat only two days ago.

The kidnappings have dealt a blow to the peace efforts in the region, as the government and Taliban militants have pledged a ceasefire in the region.

Pakistani authorities last Monday entered into a deal with Taliban militia to restore sharia, or Islamic law, for peace in Swat, a idyllic valley where Pakistani military has been engaged in an unending war with Islamist militants.

A journalist working for a local television channel and newspaper was abducted and killed Wednesday as he covered a “peace march”, led by radical cleric Maulana Sufi Mohammad who was freed by the government to negotiate peace with Taliban militants.

Last Sunday, Islamist militants announced a 10-day ceasefire in the valley as a “goodwill gesture” towards the peace talks.

Pakistan said Saturday the government and the militants have agreed to a “permanent truce”, but a Taliban commander said their ceasefire would be reviewed on its expiry Wednesday.

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