A U.S. tourist was purportedly found among 9 dead shot by men wearing police uniforms believed to be Islamic militants. The tourists were found at the world’s highest mountains located in the remote areas of northern Pakistan.
Among the dead were two Chinese, one Chinese-American and one Nepalese. It was noted that one individual was a Pakistani and the other six have not been identified. The deaths were confirmed by Attaur Rehman, home secretary in the Gilgit-Baltistan.
The acting spokesman at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Matt Boland, confirmed the death of the American. It could not be determined if the Chinese-American maintained a dual citizenship.
Pakistan’s interior minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Kahn stated that nine foreigners and one Pakistani was killed. He said five Ukrainians, three Chinese and one Russian were dead. One Chinese tourist was wounded and later rescued he said.
The attack happened at the base camp of Nanga Parbat, the ninth highest mountain in the world at 8,126 meters (26,660 feet). It is unclear how and why the assault occurred. It is uncertain if the victims were just visiting or planned to climb.
It is reported that the gunmen wore uniforms of the Gilgit Scouts, a paramilitary police force. Two local guides were abducted at gunpoint and led the attackers to the remote base camp. One guide was killed in the incident and the other detained by authorities for further questioning. It is unclear if the U.S. tourist killed by the impersonating police force was the primary target.
“The government will take all measures to ensure the safety of foreign tourist,” said the interior minister in a speech in the National Assembly. The Assembly soon after enacted legislation attesting to support any developed measures.
The Jundul Hafsa group of the Taliban is credited with carrying out the attack on the tourist group. “By killing foreigners, we wanted to give a message to the world to play their role in bringing an end to the drone attacks,” said Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan.
The attackers’ beatup and robbed Pakistanis that were accompanying the foreigners. They later tied them up and then killed the foreigners after checking ID’s. “A lot of tourists come to this area in the summer and our local people work to earn money from these people,” said Syed Mehdi Shah, the chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan.
“God willing we will find the perpetrators of this tragic incident,” said Shah.
The top police Chief in Gilgit-Baltistan has been suspended pending an inquiry into the incident.
By Thomas Barr