Why Were Americans Ambushed?

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KARACHI, Pakistan: Four American accountants and their Pakistani driver were killed this morning as gunmen ambushed their car en route to work. Noone claimed responsibility for the attack, but local police speculated it could be retaliation for Monday’s murder conviction by a U.S. court of a Pakistani man.

Mir Amal Kansi was convicted of killing two CIA employees in a 1993 attack outside the agency’s Langley, Virginia headquarters. The Americans killed in today’s ambush were employees of Union Texas Petroleum, which accounts for about 40 percent of Pakistan’s crude oil production.

And there lies the mystery: Union Texas is known for maintaining good relations with local communities, while public reaction to the Kansi verdict has thus far been muted. With Secretary of State Madeleine Albright set to visit Pakistan at the weekend, the U.S. embassy will be eager to solve the mystery with all speed.