Kidnap for ransom is relatively common in Pakistan, though foreigners are not often targets. Militants also occasionally take foreigners hostage. — Photo by AP

LAHORE: An American citizen was kidnapped from his residence in Lahore on Saturday, police said.

Police identified the man as “J.E. Warner”, who they said was working on a development project in the country's tribal areas, where Pakistani troops have been battling insurgents for years.

A US Embassy spokesman said they were trying to confirm the reports.

“Some six to eight people broke into his house at around 3:30 a.m., when security guards on duty were making preparation for fasting,” police official Tajamal Hussain told Reuters.

“Two of the assailants came from the front gate while about six others used the backdoor. They tortured the guards and then took the American with them.”

Hussain said Warner, in his 60s, had been living in Pakistan for five to six years. He mostly lived in Islamabad but had been travelling to Lahore.

Another official said they had no details about the kidnappers.

Kidnap for ransom is relatively common in Pakistan, though foreigners are not often targets. Militants also occasionally take foreigners hostage.

Pakistani Taliban, linked to al Qaeda, have claimed responsibility for kidnapping a Swiss couple in July, in the southwestern province of Balochistan.

They said the couple could be freed in exchange for Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani woman serving a jail term in the United States for shooting FBI agents and US soldiers in Afghanistan.

Eight Pakistani employees of a US-based aid organisation, American Refugee Committee (ARC), were kidnapped in Balochistan last month.

Anti-US sentiments runs high in Pakistan, and already prickly ties between Islamabad and Washington hit a low point after the May 2 killing of al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in an attack that Pakistan termed a breach of its sovereignty.

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