Arshad Butt/AP
John Solecki

American Diplomat Is Most Recent Kidnapping Victim in Pakistan

February 02, 2009 12:38 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Gunmen in southwest Pakistan have abducted an American diplomat who works for the UN; it is the most recent kidnapping of a diplomat in the country.
On Monday four suspected Islamic militants kidnapped John Solecki, an American who heads the UN High Commissioner for Refugees office in Quetta, a city in southwestern Pakistan. The gunmen killed Solecki’s driver during the kidnapping, according to Bloomberg.

The abduction represents the “most high-profile abduction of a Westerner in several years, and the third attack in five months on Americans working in Pakistan’s ethnic Pashtun zone bordering Afghanistan in the country’s west,” Bloomberg writes.

Pakistani officials have not named any groups suspected of carrying out the kidnapping, but the country’s foreign ministry called the incident a “dastardly terrorist act,” according to Voice of America.

Members of the Afghan Taliban have sought refuge in Quetta since 2002, and the United States has attempted to reduce the popularity of Islamic militants in the Pashtun areas by promising $750 million over five years for development of the area.

In mid November 2008, Iranian diplomat Heshmatollah Attarzadeh Niyaki was kidnapped in Peshawar, Pakistan. The incident came soon after American aid worker Stephen D. Vance was assassinated in Pakistan, a serious blow to U.S. efforts to secure the region. Vance worked for CHF International, an American aide group that seeks to develop infrastructure in the region.

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