Pakistani Taleban kidnap Chinese cyclist

DERA ISMAIL KHAN (REUTERS) - The Pakistani Taleban have kidnapped a Chinese tourist on a cycling tour of the country, police and Taleban sources said Tuesday, the latest in a series of abductions aimed at raising money for rival Taleban factions.

The man, whose name and passport details were supplied to Reuters, was kidnapped on Monday in Daraban, near the western city of Dera Ismail Khan.

Abdullah Bahar, a senior Taleban commander, told Reuters the man was in their custody.

"We kidnapped the Chinese tourist. He is now in our hands," he said. "We will demand the release of our fighters who are in government custody."

Daraban police said they were searching for the man.

Kidnaps are rising in Pakistan, although it is unusual for Chinese to be targeted. Gunmen in January shot dead six guards protecting a Spanish round-the-world cyclist in a remote area of western Pakistan. He escaped unhurt, his family said.

The Pakistani Taleban, who are seeking to set up an Islamic state, have split over tribal rivalries, control of extortion revenue, peace talks with the government, and who should succeed leaders killed by US drone strikes.

It is allied to but not the same as the Afghan Taleban, who have repeatedly called on their Pakistani allies to resolve their differences.

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