— Domani Spero
Pakistani news reports that two gunmen riding a motorcycle opened fire on Faisal Saeed, 30, outside his residence in Peshawar. Senior police official Najibur Rehman reportedly identified Saeed as a former employee of the U.S. consulate in Peshawar, but the U.S. embassy in Islamabad said he was a staff member.
“Local authorities are investigating a tragic incident that has affected a Pakistani national U.S. Consulate Peshawar employee,” a U.S. Embassy spokeswoman said in a statement. “We strongly condemn this brutal and senseless death, and express our heartfelt condolences to the family,” she said.
WaPo also reported yesterday that Saeed, worked as a computer programmer at the consulate and was active in updating its Facebook page. The report citing a friend, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of safety concerns, said Saeed “was talking on his phone outside of his house when two armed men shot him and fled.”
“Pakistani officials refused to speculate whether Saeed was targeted because of his affiliation with the U.S. government.”
Peshawar has been called the most dangerous post in the Foreign Service and has been in de facto draw-down during the last five years.
In 2013, the Regional Security Office released its annual Crime and Security Report detailing various attacks against post:
Western targets, in particular U.S. diplomatic premises, personnel, and vehicles, have been attacked repeatedly in Peshawar over the past several years. In 2010, the U.S. Consulate weathered a direct assault. In May 2011, a Consulate motorcade was attacked with a car bomb in the University Town neighborhood. In September 2012, another Consulate motorcade was attacked in the same neighborhood utilizing a sophisticated surveillance network and a suicide car bomb, which resulted in numerous casualties and property damage. In November 2012, two separate indirect fire (IDF) incidents were directed at the Consulate’s University Town housing compound. A number of Consulate residences sustained minor damage, and one Consulate guard was injured.
The report also notes the anti-American sentiment in the country and the apparent rise of terrorist acts in Peshawar.
Northwest Pakistan–consisting of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province (KP), the provincial capital of Peshawar, and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)–is a dangerous place for all Westerners and especially American citizens. The Abbottabad raid in May 2011 that captured and killed Osama bin Laden, the 2011 NATO action on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border that resulted in the death of 24 Pakistani soldiers, and the 2011 Raymond Davis incident have inflamed anti-American sentiment in Pakistan. In 2012, there were numerous anti-American protests, including large-scale demonstrations and protests against the anti-Islamic movie, “Innocence of Muslims.” The overall number of terrorist acts in the “settled areas” of Peshawar and KP Province appear to be on the rise, particularly with attacks against local commercial and government facilities.
Active links added above. The U.S. Consulate General Peshawar was headed by senior DS agent Robert Reed from 2012 to 2013. In fall 2013, he was succeeded by Gabriel Escobar as consul general. Mr. Escobar previously served as Team Leader of the State Department’s PRT in Kirkuk Province, Iraq in 2009 and 2010.
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