Gunmen Kidnap Pakistani Police

Gunmen Kidnap Pakistani PoliceGunmen Kidnap Pakistani Police

Dozens of gunmen from criminal gangs kidnapped seven Pakistani police from a checkpoint in the normally peaceful province of Punjab on Sunday, officials said.

The kidnapping, and further fighting between insurgents and the military in the northwest of the country, underscored the range of security problems facing Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Reuters reported.

Pakistan is beset by a Taliban insurgency in the northwest and a separatist insurgency in the west. Murders, kidnappings and extortion by criminal gangs are common. Sectarian violence is growing.

Sunday's attack, by gunmen from different gangs, targeted a police checkpoint in Obaro, inside Punjab but at the intersection of three provinces, according to district police officer Sohail Chatha. "We have launched a rescue operation," he said.

In separate developments, the military said airstrikes killed 44 insurgents on Saturday in Khyber and North Waziristan, two remote, mountainous northwestern areas bordering Afghanistan.