Gunmen abducted an American citizen from his home in Lahore, Pakistan early Saturday morning, police officials have reported.
A U.S. embassy spokesman confirmed the abduction and identified the man as Warren Weinstein.
“I can confirm that an American citizen working for a private company is missing. We are working with the Pakistani authorities,” said Alberto Rodriguez, embassy official.
The name, Warren Weinstein, matches a LinkedIn profile of a man who works for J.E. Austin Associates Inc. as the Pakistan county director. The networking site said Weinstein had been based in Lahore for seven years.
According to investigators, Warren Weinstein has been living in Model Town, an affluent Lahore neighborhood and was scheduled to return to the United States August 15.
Police said about eight gunmen forced their way into Weinstein’s house between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. Saturday.
One report said the armed men tricked security guards into opening the door by offering Sehri, a meal eaten before the day’s fasting period begins during the month of Ramadan.
The guards on duty at the time were taken into custody for questioning. Authorities say Weinstein could have been working in Pakistan’s volatile tribal areas on a development project along the Afghan border.
According to the J.E. Austin web site, Weinstein is an expert in international development and had been working on the company’s Pakistan initiative for strategic development and competitiveness.
American and Pakistani officers have not deliberated on a motive and no one has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping as of yet.
U.S.-Pakistan relations have significantly worsened since the U.S. military raid into Pakistan killed al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in May. Ties further deteriorated when Raymond Davis, CIA contractor, killed two Pakistanis who he alleges were trying to rob him.
An alert warning Americans about the risk of traveling in Pakistan was issued this month by the State Department.
“U.S. citizens throughout Pakistan have also been kidnapped for ransom or for personal reasons,” the alert said.
It goes on to state, “The kidnapping of Pakistani citizens and other foreign nationals, usually for ransom, continues to increase dramatically nationwide.”
Sahil Saeed, a five-year-old British boy, was kidnapped in March 2010 when visiting his grandmother in the Punjab region.
He was held captive for 12 days and finally released when his family paid a $180,000 ransom.