Suspected Taliban militants kidnapped three paramilitary troopers in Pakistan's restive Kurram tribal region a day after rival tribal factions agreed to open a key road that had been closed for four years, security sources said on Monday.
The troopers were travelling in a private vehicle when the suspected militants stopped them near a check post at Chapari in Kurram Agency, a source said.
The masked armed men forced the security personnel out of the vehicle and took them to an undisclosed location.
No group claimed responsibility for the kidnapping though authorities said Taliban militants were usually behind such incidents.
A jirga or council of tribal elders was assigned by authorities to contact the militants for the safe release of the paramilitary troopers.
However, the jirga has had no success so far, the sources said. Elders of rival Sunni and Shia tribesmen Kurram Agency had agreed on joint action against militants in the area after they decided to reopen a key road that was closed for four years.
The elders met Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Governor Masood Kausar in the northwestern city of Peshawar and vowed to expel militants from Kurram Agency, where the rebels had closed a route linking the region to the rest of Pakistan.
The closure of the road had forced residents to travel to Peshawar via Afghanistan, a risky and long journey.
There were several peace agreements in the past but they failed to produce results.
Sunni and Shia elders have now decided to implement the previous agreements. They agreed that all closed routes would be reopened within a week and displaced people would be repatriated to their homes.
Thousands of people had left the region due to military operations against militants and clashes between rival Sunni and Shia tribesmen over the past four years.
The tribal elders further agreed that all routes would be handed over to security forces. They also imposed a ban on carrying weapons.