Pakistani journalist kidnapped in Waziristan

Rahmatullah Darpakhel was shopping when the armed men bundled him into a car and drove away.

Islamabad: A group of armed men kidnapped senior journalist Rahmatullah Darpakhel in the restive North Waziristan tribal region of Pakistan, local residents said on Friday.

Darpakhel, who is associated with the Urdu daily Ausaf, was kidnapped from Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan agency, on Tuesday.

He was shopping in the main market of the town when the armed men bundled him into a car and drove away. The faces of the kidnappers were covered.

They intercepted Darpakhel shortly after he left the Miranshah Press Club.

Media reports said Darpakhel was careful while writing about issues and incidents in the volatile North Waziristan Agency.

He reportedly refused to work with the foreign media due to the dangers associated with journalistic assignments in the militancy-hit tribal belt.

"He is widely respected and had never received a threat from any militant group," senior reporter Malik Mumtaz Khan told The News daily.

The incident has caused concern among fellow journalists in North Waziristan, Khan said.

A mysterious group, Khurasan, considered the intelligence wing of the Taliban, was reportedly behind such kidnappings and the murder of tribesmen in North Waziristan, sources told the daily.

Taliban fighters led by Hafiz Gul Bahadur denied involvement in Darpakhel`s kidnapping and denounced the incident.

Their spokesman Ahmadullah Ahmadi said the group had launched efforts to trace the journalist.


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