Saturday, August 13, 2011
American man kidnapped by assailants in Pakistan 13 Aug 2011 15:48 | Source: Reuter
* Warren Weinstein taken from his residence in Lahore
* Anti-U.S. sentiment running high in Pakistan
* Weinstein well-known in development, aid circles
LAHORE, Pakistan, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Several assailants broke into a house in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore in the pre-dawn hours on Saturday, overcame security guards and kidnapped a U.S. man identified as an international development expert, police said.
In Washington, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman identified the man as Warren Weinstein.
Weinstein has been identified as working for J.E. Austin & Associates, an Arlington, Virginia-based consulting firm, on a development project in lawless tribal areas where Pakistani troops have been battling Islamist insurgents for years.
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"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, referring to the Ramadan fast observed by Muslims.
"Two of the assailants came from the front gate while about six others used the back door. They tortured the guards and then took the American with them."
A security official familiar with the incident said the gunmen forced the man's driver to knock on his bedroom door. When the man opened it, they took him.
Hussain said the victim, in his 60s, had been living in Pakistan for five to six years. He mostly lived in Islamabad but had been travelling to Lahore.
The security official said there had been no claim of responsibility.
The State Department spokeswoman, Joann Moore, said, "We are working with local authorities on the investigation." Moore added that members of Weinstein's family were receiving support from the U.S. consulate in Lahore.