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PAKISTAN RAIDS COMPANY THAT GUARDS U.S. EMBASSY

The episode adds to scandals over roles of private contractors hired in the region.

Associated Press

ISLAMABAD - Police raided a Pakistani security firm that helps protect the U.S. Embassy on Saturday, seizing 70 allegedly unlicensed weapons and arresting two people.

The incident follows a series of scandals surrounding American use of private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The raid on two offices of the Inter-Risk company is especially sensitive because of a slew of recent rumors and media reports that embassy expansion plans in Pakistan include hiring the Az security firm, formerly known as Blackwater.

The United States says there is no truth in the reports, but they have resonated with the many Pakistanis familiar with allegations that Blackwater employees were involved in unprovoked killings of Iraqi civilians.

Police official Rana Akram said that two Inter-Risk employees were arrested and being questioned. He said authorities were seeking the company's owner, a retired Pakistani army captain.

U.S. Embassy spokesman Rick Snelsire said the contract with Inter-Risk to provide security at the embassy and consulates took effect this year. It is believed to be the first U.S. contract for the firm. He did not know how long the contract was for or what it was worth.

Also Saturday, a bomb at a security checkpoint in the northwestern region of Dara Adam Khel killed at least two people, local government official Aslam Khan said. He said police are investigating if it was a suicide attack and determining the identity of the victims. Taliban fighters in Pakistan's northwestern regions bordering Afghanistan frequently target security checkpoints.

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