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Two kidnapped Sikhs rescued in NW Pakistan

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistani security forces on Monday recovered two of three Sikhs kidnapped for ransom in the country’s volatile northwest, a security official said, days after the body of the third Sikh was found.

The three Sikhs were abducted from the Khyber region on the Afghan border in January. The decapitated body of one of them was found last week.

Government forces launched an operation early on Monday and rescued the remaining two Sikhs.

“Some terrorists have also been killed in the fighting,” a security official, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters.

Sikhs are a tiny minority in predominantly Muslim Pakistan, but a sizeable community has lived in Khyber and elsewhere in the northwest. Most of them run private businesses.

Khyber has long been a den for criminal syndicates involved in kidnapping, smuggling, drug trafficking and car-jackings. Criminals are also believed to have established links with Islamist militants in recent years.

Three militants were also killed in a shootout with security forces near the North Waziristan region on the Afghan border, while the bodies of five militants were found in the northwestern Swat region on Monday, security officials said.

(Reporting by Zeeshan Haider; Editing by Michael Georgy and Paul Tait)

For more Reuters coverage of Afghanistan and Pakistan, see: here