NEW YORK - Pakistani immigrants from the Swat valley have told a leading US newspaper that the Taliban are singling out their families for threats, kidnapping and even murder by Taliban forces, who view them as potential American collaborators and lucrative sources of ransom. In interviews with The New York Times, Some immigrants also say they, too, have been threatened in the United States by the Taliban or its sympathizers, while others say they have been attacked or kidnapped when they have returned home. Last June, Bakht Bilind Khan, a fast-food restaurant worker living in New York City's borough of Bronx, said several heavily armed Taliban fighters wearing masks appeared at the door of their house in a Swat village where he had gone to visit his family. They accused him of being an American spy and kidnapped him. During two weeks of captivity in a nearby mountain range, Khan was quoted as saying, he was interrogated repeatedly about his wealth, property and "mission" in the United States. He was released in exchange for an $8,000 ransom. His family, threatened with death if they did not leave the region, is now hiding elsewhere in Pakistan. "Our Swat, our paradise, is burning now," said Khan, 55, who returned to the United States and is trying to reimburse the friends and relatives who paid his ransom. The threats have brought an added dimension of suffering for the immigrants who told The Times that fresh reports of hardship arrive here every day, sometimes several times a day, and spread quickly among the several thousand Swati immigrants in the New York region: families driven from their villages, houses being destroyed, relatives disappearing. The fate of the valley dominates conversation among the exiles. "Though every community of exiles from a conflict-ridden country suffers when relatives who remain behind are caught in the fight, the immigrants from Swat also bear the burden of believing that their presence in America is endangering their relatives back home, where the Taliban have imposed their authority over vast swaths of the region," the Times' dispatch said. "More than that, Swati immigrants say they have been left with the sense that the more they try to help their families back home, the more harm they may do, an excruciating dilemma that has filled many with a combination of helplessness, fear, sadness and guilt". If they speak out, they fear, it could lead to retribution for them or their relatives in Pakistan. And few dare leave the United States for fear of losing the single largest income stream their families have, the report said. Iqbal Ali Khan, the general secretary of the American chapter of the Awami National Party, was quoted as saying that he had received three threatening phone calls in the past two months. The callers, who did not identify themselves, told Khan he was "too active" and ordered him to bring $1 million with him on his next trip to Pakistan. On Wednesday, he said he received a dire call from his brother, who at that very moment was hiding in a forest on the outskirts of the valley's largest city, Mingora, with their 97-year-old father. The elder Mr. Khan had received a letter from the Taliban earlier in the day warning him that he would be kidnapped unless he handed over $200,000. The note specifically instructed the father to get the money from his son in the United States. "My 97-year-old father is on the run," exclaimed the younger Iqbal Khan, his voice choking up in sadness. "Tragedy Tragedy" There are an estimated 6,000 to 7,000 people from the Swat Valley in the United States, about half of whom live in the New York metropolitan region, said Taj Akbar Khan, president of the Khyber Society USA, a Pakistani charitable and cultural organization. In New York, Swatis generally live within the larger Pakistani population, which is concentrated in Coney Island, Brooklyn, and Astoria, Queens, among other neighborhoods. "We are sad that because of us, our relatives are getting into trouble," said Ajab, 51, who spoke only on the condition that his last name not be published, to protect his family's identity. Ajab, the owner of a fried chicken shop in Paterson, New Jersey, said the Taliban kidnapped a brother-in-law last year near the family's village in the Swat Valley. During 75 days of captivity, the Taliban fighters told the brother-in-law that one of the reasons they had kidnapped him was that he had relatives in the United States, including Ajab. The fighters released him after the family paid a $20,000 ransom.