09.02.08, 07:32 PM #1
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Interesting; Taliban admit kidnapping Chinese
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) - Pakistani Taliban militants said Tuesday they had kidnapped two Chinese telecoms engineers and their entourage and would soon issue a list of demands.
The claim of responsibility was swiftly followed by a plea from Beijing urging Pakistan to rescue the captives.
The engineers went missing along with their local driver and a security guard four days ago near the Afghan border where they had been checking an installation.
"Our men have kidnapped the two Chinese engineers and they are currently in our custody," Muslim Khan, a spokesman for militants from the restive northwestern Swat valley, told AFP.
He confirmed that the driver and security guard were also being held.
"Our central consultative council will take a final decision about the fate of the engineers," he said, adding that a list of demands would be put to government officials for their release.
He did not, however, give any date for a meeting of the council.
In Beijing, foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said: "We have requested that Pakistan rescue the two missing staff and ensure their safety. The Chinese government attaches great importance to this."
Islamic militants have been known in the past to target Chinese workers in Pakistan. China is one of Islamabad's closest allies as well as its largest arms supplier.
Police sent three investigation teams to the rugged area to try and trace the engineers, employed by Zhongxing Telecommunication Equipment.
An official said at the weekend that it was not clear whether they had been kidnapped, lost their way or had had an accident.
In October 2004, Islamic militants led by a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner, Abdullah Mehsud, kidnapped two Chinese engineers working on a multi-million dollar hydroelectric dam project in the South Waziristan tribal area.
One of the hostages died in a botched rescue bid.
Mehsud died last year when he blew himself up to avoid arrest.
He was from the same tribe as Baitullah Mehsud, a leading Taliban commander in Pakistan's tribal regions who has been linked to a wave of suicide bombings following a deadly army raid on the Red Mosque in Islamabad in July 2007."Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton
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