Nightly News | August 13, 2011
LESTER HOLT, anchor: Turning now to the brazen kidnapping of an American contractor in Pakistan , taken from his heavily protected home in the middle of the night by a band of armed gunmen. The abduction occurred in the city of Lahore in eastern Pakistan and our chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel has our report.
RICHARD ENGEL reporting: Around 3:45 AM , Pakistani police say as many as eight heavily armed men kidnapped American contractor Warren Weinstein from his home in Lahore , Pakistan . Weinstein , who just turned 70 last month, was highly experienced in international aid work. He had been taking precautions. He lived in an upscale neighborhood in a villa surrounded by walls with a metal gate and guards. But it wasn't enough. Just last week, the US State Department issued a warning that said "kidnapping" in Pakistan , "usually for ransom, continues to increase dramatically nationwide." The gunmen entered Weinstein 's home apparently without a fight. His guards say they were overpowered. Pakistani police have taken several of them into custody, suspecting the kidnappers may have had inside help. Weinstein , who speaks six languages, including Urdu , was reportedly working for a Virginia -based company to improve Pakistan 's economic development. Pakistani journalist Raza Rumi has known Weinstein for three years.
Mr. RAZA RUMI: He is the type of person who is prepared for all such eventualities. And I wish that, you know, he comes back very soon, safe and sound.
ENGEL: Kidnapping has long been a risk in Pakistan . In 2002 , al-Qaeda militants kidnapped and executed American journalist Daniel Pearl . According to the State Department , at least three other US citizens have been kidnapped in the last three years. No group has claimed responsibility for Weinstein 's kidnapping, but anti- Americanism has been on the rise since US Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden in May.
Mr. ROGER CRESSEY (NBC News Terrorism Analyst): Tensions have been running high there with very strong anti-Western attitudes. It is very likely it's a group of militants who could be aligned with a whole host of different parties that may have targeted this individual.
ENGEL: Weinstein 's kidnapping will likely trigger other foreign groups to re-examine their projects in Pakistan . Richard Engel , NBC News, Kabul.