Iranian diplomat kidnapped in Pakistan

Hashmatullah Atharzadeh, an Iranian diplomat, was kidnapped near the Pakistan-Iran border. A police guard was killed in the process. The ambush occurred close to the place where an American aid worker was killed on Wednesday.


Unidentified gunmen kidnapped an Iranian diplomat Thursday, killing his Pakistani police guard in the latest attack in the northwestern province bordering Afghanistan, police said.

Hashmatullah Atharzadeh was on his way to the consulate in Peshawar, capital of North West Frontier Province, when unknown assailants attacked his car, police officer Banaras Khan said.

"The attackers sprayed bullets, forcing the car to stop and then dragged out the diplomat while his police guard was killed," Khan told AFP.

They took away the diplomat in their own vehicle, another police officer, Abdul Qadir said.

The ambush took place close to where unknown gunmen killed an American aid worker and his local driver on Wednesday.

In August a US diplomat escaped unhurt in the city after gunmen opened fire on her car.

Suspected Taliban militants kidnapped Afghan Consul General Abdul Khaliq Farahi nearly two months ago and are still holding him.

And two weeks ago a brother of an Afghan minister was also kidnapped and remains untraced.

The incidents come amid an ongoing offensive by the Pakistani military in the tribal region of Bajaur and the scenic Swat valley, during which more than 2,000 militants have been killed over the past few months.

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