Gunmen Kidnap American U.N. Official in Pakistan
QUETTA, Pakistan — Gunmen kidnapped an American U.N. worker and killed his driver in southwestern Pakistan on Monday, underscoring the security threat in a country wracked by Al Qaeda violence and rising criminality.
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry called the abduction a “dastardly terrorist act,” but it was not clear who seized John Solecki, the head of the U.N. refugee office in the city of Quetta, as he traveled to work.Quetta is the capital of Baluchistan province, which partly borders Afghanistan. The dusty city is believed to be a possible hiding place for Mullah Omar and other Taliban leaders, who are thought to have fled Afghanistan after the U.S. invasion in 2001.
Uh oh.That don’t sound good.That’s all we need in Pakistan right now,a high profile hostage.If the Taliban or some other insurgents have captured an American diplomat that could be a problem for the Obama administration as it could inspire others to do the same.Also it could become a foreign relations disaster as he would have to rely mostly on Pakistan for assistance and may look weak when they don’t come through.
Senior police official Khalid Masood said Solecki was an American who had worked in Quetta for more than two years. The U.N. confirmed Solecki had been kidnapped, but would not specify where he was from. In a statement, the U.N. information office in Pakistan conveyed “extreme shock and dismay” at the kidnapping and the killing of the driver, Syed Hashim.
“We strongly condemn this attack on humanitarian workers in Pakistan who have been doing their utmost to deliver their humanitarian mission,” it said.
Authorities sealed exit routes from the city, said Wazir Khan Nasir, another officer. Police in the border town of Chaman said they were checking vehicles to prevent the kidnappers from whisking the captive to Afghanistan.
U.S. Embassy spokesman Lou Fintor said American officials were looking into the reports.
So far this doesn’t seem to be burning up the airwaves but the story is young.This could turn into another Daniel Pearl or Nick Berg story.The propaganda value of an American U.N. worker could be very valuable to those who kidnapped him.They could use him to humiliate Pakistani forces and the U.S. in general.This could either be a very big story or it will be buried.
This also could be a first test Of how Obama will handle a real crisis that he didn’t generate himself.
Maybe this would be a good time to take Hillary out of her Christmas wrapping paper and see what she can do seeing how the hostage is an U.N. official.That seems like State Department territory to me.I doubt that will happen however as there isn’t much she could do and would end up looking foolish and ineffective.
Good luck on this Barry and good luck to Mr.John Solecki.I’ll pray for the man.
“We are very concerned and are doing are best to resolve this…next question”