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Kidnapping of American in Lahore highlights risks for US aid efforts in Pakistan

US citizen Warren Weinstein was abducted from his home in the city of Lahore, Pakistan early Saturday morning.

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Pakistani police officers gather in front of the house of a kidnapped American aid worker in Lahore, Pakistan.

K.M. Chaudary/AP

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Armed gunmen kidnapped an American development consultant from his home in Lahore early Saturday, highlighting the difficulty of US aid efforts in Pakistan.

The abducted man, Warren Weinstein, heads the Pakistan office for consulting firm J.E. Austin Associates, Inc. The firm is working here on US Agency for International Development (USAID) projects, including one to set up small businesses and create jobs in the restive tribal areas. The US has pledged some $7.5 billion in civilian aid over a five year period in a bid to stem militancy and improve relations with the nuclear-armed state.

It’s unclear what motivated the kidnapping. But the incident underscores the risks and complications involved for American contractors trying to implement US aid work.

“For me it is very shocking,” says Sajid Hassan, a businessman who has worked with Dr. Weinstein on dairy projects. “He did a lot of good work for this country.”

Helping Pakistan's dairy industry

Mr. Weinstein helped import dairy chillers to boost the productivity of Pakistan’s rural farms, resulting in $63 million in new investment to Pakistan, at least 2,150 new jobs, and a 25 percent boost in producer productivity, according to the company website.

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