Taliban hold Pakistan official despite peace talks

Pakistan's government says Taliban militants have kidnapped a senior official in a northwestern valley despite ongoing peace talks there. Police say armed men abducted Khushal Khan and his six security guards on Sunday as they drove toward the main town in the Swat Valley. Muslim Khan, a spokesman for the Taliban in Swat, confirmed that the official was with militants. He described Khushal Khan as a guest but said the militants had unspecified issues with one of the men accompanying the official. Militants and security forces are observing a cease-fire in Swat while a hard-line cleric tries to persuade the Taliban to renounce violence in return for the introduction of elements of Islamic law.