American snatched from home by gunmen

GUNMEN abducted an American man from his home in the Pakistani city of Lahore yesterday.

It was an unusually brazen raid that showed the threat to foreigners living in the militancy-wracked country.

The American Embassy identified the victim as Warren Weinstein, Pakistan country director for JE Austin Associates, a development contractor that works with the aid arm of the American government.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Weinstein is based in Lahore and had been in Pakistan for seven years. According to Pakistani police, between eight and ten assailants broke into the American's house in an up-market neighbourhood in the eastern city of Lahore after persuading the guards to open the gate by saying they wanted to give them food - an act of sharing common during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Police officer Attiqur Rehman said the motive for the attack was not clear.

Foreigners have frequently been targeted by militants in Pakistan in recent years, but it is unusual for the assailants to stage such a raid on a victim's home. Kidnappings for ransom are common in Pakistan, though most of the victims are Pakistani.

Abductions are usually carried out by criminal gangs, though ransoms are also believed to help fund militant groups.

The Pakistani Taleban claims to be holding two people from Switzerland kidnapped earlier this summer while they were travelling through a remote and dangerous south-west region.

Americans in Pakistan are considered specially at risk from militant attack because the insurgents oppose Islamabad's alliance with Washington and the war in Afghanistan.