- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 13, 2008

PESHAWAR, Pakistan | Gunmen fatally shot an American aid worker as he drove to work Wednesday in northwestern Pakistan, the latest in a spate of attacks on foreigners in a country battling a resurgence of Taliban and al Qaeda violence.

Police did not say who they suspected was behind the attack, which also killed the man’s driver. Similar attacks against Pakistani security forces and foreigners have been blamed on al Qaeda and Taliban-linked fighters, who are increasingly active in the northwestern tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

The shooting occurred in University Town, an upscale area of the main northwestern city of Peshawar where a top U.S. diplomat was attacked just a few months ago, police said. Peshawar is on the eastern edge of the tribal areas and is the largest city in the region.

Police identified the dead American as Stephen Vance, and officials said he was involved in U.S.-government-funded development projects in the tribal areas. Mr. Vance worked for CHF International, a U.S.-based group that was implementing American government-funded programs.

The gunmen blocked Mr. Vance’s vehicle in a narrow lane with their own car, then opened fire with automatic weapons, said a Western security official in Peshawar.

Militants are increasingly targeting foreigners in Pakistan and Afghanistan, venting their anger at the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and Islamabad’s close links with Washington. A Pakistani military offensive and a spate of U.S. missile strikes on militant targets in the northwest also have raised tensions.

In August, Lynne Tracy, the top U.S. diplomat in northwestern Pakistan, narrowly survived a gun attack on her armored vehicle in University Town.

Kidnappers are also currently holding the Afghan ambassador-designate, a Chinese engineer and a Polish surveyor. All were seized in the northwest.

Also in northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday, security forces hunted for militants who seized military vehicles with supplies destined for U.S. troops in Afghanistan in a brazen raid.

Dozens of gunmen hijacked around 13 trucks carrying the items at the entrance of the Khyber Pass on Monday. Twelve of the trucks were carrying wheat from the World Food Program, government official Fazal Mahmood said.

U.S. military spokesman Maj. John Redfield said late Tuesday that Humvees and water tank trailers were among the items missing in the highly organized attack.



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