The kidnapping of an American aid worker in Pakistan comes on the heels of perceived restrictions on foreigners’ movement in the country. It underscores the risks faced by aid workers in Pakistan and raises concerns that development work being carried out by international groups might be hampered.
Warren Weinstein, chief of party for Arlington, Virginia-based consulting firm J.E. Austin & Associates was reportedly abducted on Saturday, Aug. 13, by unidentified armed men inside his home in the Eastern City of Lahore. This happened just a few days before he was set to return to the U.S. after a seven-year stint in Pakistan.
Weinstein’s company is a contractor of a U.S. Agency for International Development project to boost competitiveness among Pakistani industries.
Shandana Khan, head of Pakistani non-governmental organization Rural Support Program Network, observes foreign development groups are finding it “much more difficult” to operate than local groups in Pakistan. Some foreign aid groups have already halted operations in the regions along the border with Afghanistan, she says.
Relations between Pakistan and the U.S. have been strained following the U.S. raid that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and the shooting incident involving a Central Intelligence Agency contractor.
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