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Gunmen kidnap 18 men from tribal village near Peshawar

PESHAWAR, Pakistan, March 15 (UPI) -- Armed gunmen raided a village near Peshawar in Pakistan's volatile northwestern tribal area early Saturday and kidnapped 18 men, officials say.

Witnesses said that 60 to 70 men invaded the village in the Faqeer Valley at about 2 a.m., Pakistan's Dawn News reported.

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Police were called after one of the men escaped and returned to the village, officials said. Villagers said the raiders were members of the extremist Lashkar-e-Islam group.

Peshawar is the center of an area on the border with Afghanistan and one end of the Khyber Pass that has become a base for al-Qaida and the Taliban. The local government announced it is suspending a polio vaccination drive set to begin Monday because of problems in the area.

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