More on this story, and an update on Taliban encroachment in and around Peshawar: It looks like the latest truce between Pakistan and the Taliban, signed in July, is yielding familiar results. “U.S. Diplomat Attacked in Peshawar,” by Jane Perlez for the New York Times:
[…] In the increasingly lawless northern city of Peshawar on Tuesday morning, three men with assault rifles and the long hair and beards of the Taliban attacked a vehicle carrying a top American diplomat, the provincial police chief said.
The bulletproof Land Cruiser carrying the diplomat, Lynne Tracy, the principal officer at the United States Consulate in Peshawar, was stopped by the three men who got out of a sport utility vehicle and fired, said the police official, Malik Naveed Khan, inspector general of the police in North-West Frontier Province.
Ms. Tracy, who was headed to work at the consulate from her home about a mile away, was unharmed, he said.
The men attacked as the Taliban, who virtually control the tribal areas adjacent to Peshawar, pressed in on the city, conducting suicide bomb attacks and kidnapping civilians.
The attack took place in a district known as University Town, considered one of the more secure areas with large houses protected by high walls and guards.
About 30 Americans work at the consulate, mostly managing economic development programs and as liaisons between the American military and the Pakistani Army. Since the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and the Pentagon, when Pakistan joined the Bush administration in the fight against terrorism, the movements of American diplomats in Pakistan have been restricted, and they have been advised not to travel outside major cities.
Lou Fintor, a spokesman for the American Embassy in Islamabad, said, “There was a security incident in Peshawar this morning involving a U.S. Consulate vehicle.” He said three employees were in the car.
A current focus of the consulate is a $750 million program to encourage economic development and to counter the influence of the Taliban in the nearby tribal areas. A number of Americans who work on that program but who are not officially employees of the consulate live in the city.
Two Americans were killed in 2002, when gunmen attacked a Protestant church in Islamabad. In 2006, a car bombing killed an American diplomat at the consulate in Karachi.
In the past year, suicide bombers have attacked Pakistani military targets in Peshawar. Last week, the Pakistani Taliban took responsibility for a suicide bomber who hit a bus carrying members of the Pakistani Air Force, killing 14.