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US Citizen Kidnapped in Pakistan


Pakistani security officials gather at the compound of the house of a abducted American citizen in Lahore, Pakistan, Aug. 13, 2011

Pakistani security officials gather at the compound of the house of a abducted American citizen in Lahore, Pakistan, Aug. 13, 2011

At least eight armed men have abducted an American citizen from his home in the Eastern Pakistani City of Lahore. U.S. authorities confirmed the incident and said they are working with Pakistani law enforcement to investigate what happened. So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and no communication or demands have been received by authorities.

The American citizen is said to be a man in his 60s who had been living in Pakistan for several years, working on a development project in the volatile Tribal Areas which border Afghanistan.

The man has been identified as Warren Weinstein, the country director of J.E. Austin Associates, a Virginia based development firm that often contracts with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

According to local police gunmen overpowered the guards at the man's residence in Lahore and forced the American into a car in the early hours of the morning.

Tajjmul Hussain, a police officer from the area, said that the kidnappers gained entry into the compound by offering to provide a ceremonial early morning meal that Muslims eat during this holy month of Ramadan. Once inside they tied up the guards and went upstairs to take the American, who was sleeping.

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy, Alberto Gonzalez, says that they are working closely with Pakistani authorities to deal with the situation.

"We can confirm that a U.S. national working for a private company has been abducted in Lahore," said Gonzalez. "We are working with Pakistani authorities and are investigating the issue. Of course, the Pakistani authorities are the lead when investigating crime in Pakistan."

Lahore Police say they have set up a number of emergency roadblocks throughout the city and are also conducting raids in pursuit of the man and those who took him. Sources within the force say they believe the American is still in Lahore.

Anti-American sentiments have been steadily rising in Pakistan for some time, especially following the U.S. covert forces raid to kill terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan. Something many here see as a violation of the nation's sovereignty.

According to Weinstein's colleagues the American had intended to finish his project and fly home in a few days.

At least eight armed men have abducted an American citizen from his home in the Eastern Pakistani City of Lahore. U.S. authorities confirmed the incident and said they are working with Pakistani law enforcement to investigate what happened. From Islamabad, VOA's Phil Ittner reports that, so far, no one has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and no communication or demands have been received by authorities.

The American citizen is said to be a man in his 60s who had been living in Pakistan for several years, working on a development project in the volatile Tribal Areas which border Afghanistan.

The man has been identified as Warren Weinstein, the country director of J.E. Austin Associates, a Virginia based development firm that often contracts with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

According to local police gunmen overpowered the guards at the man's residence in Lahore and forced the American into a car in the early hours of the morning.

Tajjmul Hussain, a police officer from the area, said that the kidnappers gained entry into the compound by offering to provide a ceremonial early morning meal that Muslims eat during this holy month of Ramadan. Once inside they tied up the guards and went upstairs to take the American, who was sleeping.

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy, Alberto Gonzalez, says that they are working closely with Pakistani authorities to deal with the situation.

"We can confirm that a U.S. national working for a private company has been abducted in Lahore," said Gonzalez. "We are working with Pakistani authorities and are investigating the issue. Of course, the Pakistani authorities are the lead when investigating crime in Pakistan."

Lahore Police say they have set up a number of emergency roadblocks throughout the city and are also conducting raids in pursuit of the man and those who took him. Sources within the force say they believe the American is still in Lahore.

Anti-American sentiments have been steadily rising in Pakistan for some time, especially following the U.S. covert forces raid to kill terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan. Something many here see as a violation of the nation's sovereignty.

According to Weinstein's colleagues the American had intended to finish his project and fly home in a few days.

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