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By Mushtaq Yusufzai

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Two Pakistani employees of the U.S. Consulate were killed by a roadside bomb while traveling through the country's troubled northwestern region, officials said Wednesday.

U.S. Ambassador David Hale said the deaths of Faisal Khan and Abid Shah were a "terrible loss" for the Consulate General in Peshawar.

"These horrific killings remind us of the inherent dangers we all face in the course of our service, and especially of those faced by our local staff colleagues," he said in a statement.

Hale said Kahn was the most senior Pakistani employee at the mission in Peshawar, working for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. Shah was initially a surveillance detection specialist and went on to be a security escort and member of the motorpool, Hale added.

The two were traveling to an area near the Afghan border to inspect a recently destroyed poppy crop when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device, Naveed Akbar, a senior regional official told NBC News.

Two security officials and a monitoring officer of Pakistan's Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) also were seriously injured in the blast, he added.

Khan joined had the INL in 1998 and "worked to reduce poppy cultivation" in the semi-autonomous tribal region in northwestern Pakistan, Hale said. He is survived by a wife, three daughters, and son.

Shah, who joined the consulate in 2009, is survived by a wife and seven children.

"Abid Shah was a family man of deep faith, always quick with a smile and a handshake," Hale's statement added.