Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pakistan: Two Female Czech Tourists Kidnapped While Traveling by Bus in Southwestern Pakistan

According to The Associated Press, eight-to-ten heavily armed gunmen abducted two female Czech tourists, ages unknown, on March 13, and overpowered the two armed police guards on the bus, as they were traveling through a troubled province in southwest Pakistan.

The women were on the road from Iran to Quetta, the capital of Pakistan's southwest Baluchistan province. The bus was stopped by the gunmen in Chaghi district, near the Iran and Afghanistan borders.

COMMENT: I continue to emphasize that there is no place in Pakistan where Western foreigners are safe from the reach of armed banditry and terrorism.

Thus, it is essential that embassies and consulates issue candid and direct travel warnings to their nations that Pakistan is no place for "tourists."  

Having worked in Pakistan extensively over the years, most perceptive foreigners will know all too well the uncomfortable feeling that you're always a terrorist target in the country, where the majority of Pakistanis would love to get their hands on you.

After the two women were taken off of the bus by the gunmen they were taken to neighboring Afghanistan, where Western tourists have been kidnapped and murdered. Once the captives were in Afghanistan, the two now-unarmed police guards were released. 
 
Czech Foreign Ministry spokesman Karel Srol confirmed the kidnapping, saying the incident took place about 120 kilometers (72 miles) from the Iranian border. He said Pakistan's Interior Ministry had informed them that a special investigator was on his way to the area.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. Islamist militants, separatist gangs and criminals with links to both have been accused of previous kidnappings in Baluchistan.

A British aid worker for the Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross was kidnapped in Quetta in January 2012. His beheaded body was found near the city several months later. A note was attached to his body saying he was killed because no ransom was paid.

Taliban militants kidnapped a Swiss couple traveling through Baluchistan in July 2011. They released them eight months later and said they received a ransomin exchange for their release.