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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08ISLAMABAD2904 2008-09-03 13:10:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Islamabad
Cable title:  

TALIBAN KIDNAP CHINESE ENGINEERS FROM THE NWFP

Tags:   PGOV PK PREL PTER CH 
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DE RUEHIL #2904 2471310
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
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FM AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8614
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 4995
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 9079
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 8610
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 3718
RUEHKP/AMCONSUL KARACHI PRIORITY 0258
RUEHLH/AMCONSUL LAHORE PRIORITY 5998
RUEHPW/AMCONSUL PESHAWAR PRIORITY 4805
RUMICEA/USCENTCOM INTEL CEN MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 4335
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L ISLAMABAD 002904 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/03/2018
TAGS: PGOV PK PREL PTER CH
SUBJECT: TALIBAN KIDNAP CHINESE ENGINEERS FROM THE NWFP

REF: PESHAWAR 436

Classified By: Anne W. Patterson for reasons 1.4 (b), (d).



1. (U) Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan claimed on September 2
the Taliban were holding two Chinese nationals and two
Pakistanis as leverage to force the GOP to stop military
action against militants. Two Chinese engineers went missing
from Shal Plam in the Lower Dir District of the Northwest
Frontier Province (NWFP) with their Pakistani driver and
guard August 29. Police officials on August 31 launched
three investigation teams and a major search operation to
find the Chinese telecommunications engineers and the
Pakistani guard and driver.



2. (C) Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik announced
on September 1 that the telecommunications engineers had been
targeted and abducted, but refused to speculate which group
took the engineers, according to a Pakistani press conference
covered by Chinese media. However, Malik told Ambassador
September 2 that they had been abducted by militants from
Swat and he feared at least one victim was dead. The
Associated Press of Pakistan on the same day reported that
local tribesmen held a jirga and agreed to support the local
administration to recover the engineers safely.



3. (C) Chinese nationals have repeatedly been targeted for
kidnapping and killings by al-Qaeda, the Taliban and even
Baloch separatists. The reasons have ranged from attempts to
embarrass a GOP that considers China its most reliable ally
to complaints that the Chinese are taking jobs away from
Pakistanis. The July 2007 Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) operation
was launched only after militants abducted Chinese nationals
from a business in Islamabad. There have been repeated
protests over Chinese workers who were hired rather than
Balochis to build the Gwadar port. In addition to defense
and telecom businesses and assistance projects in Balochistan
and the NWFP, the Chinese are expanding the Karakoram Highway.



4. (C) The Chinese Embassy reports there are over 4,000
Chinese workers in country; many are under special GOP
protective details. The Chinese ambassador told DCM in
mid-August that Beijing remains very concerned about
political stability in Pakistan and had received only mixed
support from the Pakistanis on counter-terrorism cooperation
against militants in the Xinjiang Province of China. Local
press reported September 3 that the Chinese Ministry of
Foreign Affairs spokeswoman has urged Pakistan to rescue the
engineers.



5. (C) Comment: Kidnappings in the NWFP are increasingly
common, and the successful February 11 kidnapping of the
Pakistani ambassador to Afghanistan has upped the ante on
foreigners. On August 26, the U.S. Consul General in
Peshawar was attacked in what may have been an attempted
kidnapping (reftel).

PATTERSON