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UN limits activities after 2 FAO staffers killed in SW Pakistan

(Xinhua)

14:50, March 30, 2012

ISLAMABAD, March 29 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations (UN) and other international organizations restricted their activities in Pakistan's southwest province of Balochistan after gunmen shot dead two local employees of a UN agency on Thursday, UN sources said.

Police said unidentified gunmen attacked a vehicle of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FA0) in Mastung town and killed two of its employees, adding that those killed include an FAO officer Muhammad Yousaf and his driver Abdullah.

Another employee of the UN agency, Irfanullah, sustained serious injuries in the attack, police said.

The UN and other international organizations advised their employees to restrict their activities in Quetta, the provincial capital and other major cities. The aid agencies, whoever, said they would not halt operations in Balochistan.

No group claimed responsibility. But the authorities suspect militants are behind the attack.

Taliban militants routinely attack and kidnap foreigners in Balochistan for ransom, officials say.

A Swiss couple, kidnapped from Balochistan in July, was freed this month in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal region.

The Taliban militants kidnap foreigners and local influential people from different parts of the country and take them to the lawless tribal regions, bordering Afghanistan, security officials say.

Al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri said in an audio message in December that the group is holding the US aid worker who was kidnapped in August from Lahore.

In January, gunmen kidnapped a British employee of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) from in Quetta. Dr. Khalil Ahmed Dale, a Yemen-born British national, was on his way to the office when a group of armed men intercepted his vehicle and detained him at gunpoint.

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