In an event that will surely not do much to improve the already strained relations between the United States and Pakistan, police reported that an American named Warren Weinstein was abducted by gunmen last night.
The kidnappers raided his home in eastern Lahore, after convincing guards that they wanted to give them food, a common act of sharing during Ramadan. Weinstein had returned from Islamabad the night before, after telling staff that he was wrapping up his project and would be returning to the United States on Monday.
Weinstein worked for J.E. Austin Associates, a development contractor that does aid work for the U.S. government, according to his LinkedIn profile. He has 25 years of development experience and a Ph.D. in international law and economics.
The United States’ relationship with Pakistan began to go south at the beginning of this year, when a U.S. CIA contractor shot two Pakistanis dead, saying that they were trying to rob him. The contractor was later acquitted of two counts of murder by a Pakistani court in exchange for compensation for the victims’ families. After May, when terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan by U.S. operatives, the relationship became even more tense. Earlier this summer, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff announced that he believed that Pakistan had sanctioned the death of a journalist.
Now, it’s unclear what will happen. Foreigners are occasionally kidnapped in Pakistan, like a Swiss couple abducted in the southwest earlier this summer. The Pakistani Taliban say that they are holding them in tribal areas in the north, along the Afghan border. The question is, in the case of an abducted U.S. contractor, whether the U.S. government will use all of its diplomatic muscle to free him. We’ll keep you posted as the story evolves.
Photo from *_* via flickr.