Police hope to recover kidnapped American 'soon'

Police assures Weinstein not taken out of Pakistan.


Reuters August 24, 2011

LAHORE: An American development expert kidnapped 11 days ago in the Pakistani city of Lahore should be recovered "soon," a top police official said on Wednesday.

Up to eight assailants kidnapped Warren Weinstein, the country director for JE Austin Associates Inc., in a pre-dawn raid on his house in the eastern city of Lahore on Aug. 13.

"He (Weinstein) has not been taken out of Pakistan," said Lahore police chief Ahmed Raza Tahir told media. "We will soon recover him."

"We have arrested three men, two from Wazirabad and one from Faisalabad and we are trying to reach their network through them," he said, referring to cities in the central Punjab province.

Police have also released a sketch of a suspect.

JE Austin Associates Inc., is an Arlington, Va.-based consulting firm and has been working on a development project in the lawless tribal areas where Pakistani troops have been battling insurgents for years.

The brazen raid raised worries among aid workers, diplomats and other foreigners working in Pakistan, which is battling militancy and where anti-American sentiments run very high.

There has been no demand for ransom so far, police say.

The victim, 70, had been living in Pakistan for five to six years, according to police. He mostly lived in Islamabad but had been travelling to Lahore.

Pakistani Taliban, linked to al Qaeda, claimed responsibility for kidnapping a Swiss couple in July in the volatile southwestern province of Balochistan.

Eight Pakistani employees of a US-based aid organisation, American Refugee Committee, were kidnapped in the western province of Balochistan last month.

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