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American Shot Dead In Peshawar, Pakistani Police Say

Three people were killed in this suicide bomb in Peshawar on November 11.
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) -- Gunmen shot have dead a U.S. aid official along with his driver as he left his home in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar, police said.

The attack took place in a neighborhood favored by diplomats and foreign aid workers and close to the American Club.

"As he was coming out of his home, the attackers opened fire on him and killed him along with his driver," a senior police officer, who requested anonymity, said.

"He was working for U.S. aid projects for tribal areas," he added.

Peshawar has borne the brunt of a wave of Islamist militancy sweeping in from the rugged semi-autonomous tribal region bordering Afghanistan, where Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters have taken root.

The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad confirmed that an American had been killed, but withheld the name of the slain man.

"An American citizen and his Pakistani driver were killed in an attack in Peshawar," acting embassy spokesman Wesley Robertson said. "The attack is currently under investigation and we are coordinating with the local authorities."

Robertson said the dead American was not part of the U.S. diplomatic corps in Pakistan, but was serving in the country in a "private capacity."

Abdul Qadir, a superintendent of police, told private Samaa television police had "close camera shots of the assailants" and had launched a search and cordon operation.

Suicide Attacks

Just hours after the shooting, a suicide car-bomber killed three Pakistani soldiers and wounded four in an attack on military camp in the northwestern town of Shabqadar, 35 kilometers north of Peshawar and close to the Mohmand tribal region.

On the evening of November 11, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a sports stadium in Peshawar, killing three people.

Violence has surged in the northwest where Islamist militants have unleashed a wave of bomb and suicide attacks in recent months.

U.S. missile strikes in the tribal lands bordering Afghanistan have fuelled anti-American sentiment, while Pakistani security forces are engaged in fierce battles against Islamist guerrillas in the tribal region of Bajaur.

Eight militants and a soldier were killed in an exchange of fire in the northwestern valley of Swat on November 12, a military official said.

There are expectations that Pakistan will launch a fresh offensive soon in Mohmand, another tribal region that lies between Bajaur and Peshawar.

In late August, gunmen ambushed a vehicle carrying three members of the U.S. consulate in Peshawar, but they escaped unhurt after their driver took evasive action.

Bombers have tried to attack the U.S. consulate in the southern city of Karachi since the September 11, 2001, Al-Qaeda strikes on the United States.

U.S. diplomat David Foy was killed when his vehicle was rammed by a suicide car bomber in Karachi in 2006.