Video Claims Chinese Tourist Kidnapped
DERA ISMAIL KHAN: A militant video released on Sunday purported to show a Chinese tourist kidnapped by Taliban-allied fighters in Pakistan a year ago asking for his government to help him be released.
A militant known to belong to a Taliban splinter group called Jaish al-Hadeed gave the video to The Associated Press. While it could not be independently verified by the AP, the man in the video resembled other known photographs of Hong Xudong, kidnapped in May 2014.
In the video, the man identified as Hong asks for the Chinese government to fulfil his kidnappers’ ransom demands.
Chinese officials and state media did not immediately comment on the video. Officials at the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad could not be reached for comment.
Mr Hong went missing after entering Pakistan from India in April 2014. He was abducted on May 19 in the town of Daraban on the outskirts of Dera Ismail Khan.
Police only found his passport, bicycle and belongings. Following Mr Hong’s abduction, the leader of a Taliban splinter group called Shehryar Mehsud, Abdullah Bahar, claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. Bahar later was killed by a suspected US drone strike. It’s unclear what relationship Shehryar Mehsud has with Jaish al-Hadeed, though Taliban splinter groups frequently cooperate with each other.
The Pakistani army launched a massive operation in the tribal regions in June last year to eliminate militant groups. The operation was intensified in December after a Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar killed 150 people, most of them children.
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