PESHAWAR - Unidentified gunmen on Thursday kidnapped nine government employees in South Waziristan Agency while they were heading to inspect an under-construction dam.

The incident took place in Toi Khula area of the South Waziristan tribal district along the Afghan border where unidentified gunmen intercepted their vehicle and took them to an unknown location.

Zafrul Islam, the top government official in South Waziristan, said project director of Chao Tangi small dam, two geologists and other technical staff of the dam were among those kidnapped at gunpoint.

“Gunmen kidnapped these eight government employees when they were heading to the dam site,” Islam told AFP.

A second senior government official confirmed the abduction of the Fata Development Authority employees and told AFP that a search operation had been launched to locate the abductors.

Political Administration sources said that the abducted FDA employees included an officer Attique Bangash.

According to BBC, nine government officials were abducted including Project Director Attique Bangash, three engineers, two drivers and a geologist.

No group has yet claimed

responsibility.

This is not the first abduction of government employees in the South Waziristan Agency. Last year 21 FWO officials were kidnapped from this tribal agency while they were inspecting the development work in a far-flung area.

Eight Wapda workers were kidnapped in 2013 who were freed two years later.

South Waziristan is one of Pakistan’s seven tribal districts which border Afghanistan and have been home to Al-Qaeda and Taliban led militants.

The Taliban blew up a girls’ school in South Waziristan in February saying the school had been targeted because it was run by the military and the group was opposed to female education.

The army stepped up its offensive in the region after the Taliban’s massacre of 153 people, mostly children, at an army-run school in Peshawar in December 2014, and has killed or pushed hundreds of militants to Afghanistan.