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Khalil Dale, British Aid Worker, Kidnapped In Pakistan After Gunmen Assault In Baluchistan

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A British aid worker in Pakistan has not been seen since he was attacked at gunpoint and forced into a car, the International Committee of the Red Cross has said.

Khalil Dale was kidnapped on Thursday by the unidentified assailants just 200m from his base in an upscale housing area in Quetta, which is in the troubled south-western Baluchistan province.

Dale, who is a health programme manager working with the ICRC was abducted as he made his way home in the clearly-marked 4x4 vehicle at around 1pm local time.

A spokesman for the Red Cross said colleagues were "very concerned" for his welfare.

Nazir Kurd, a senior police official in Quetta, said Dale has been abducted by "unknown gunmen riding a Landcruiser" following a visit to a local school.

"We are checking all routes out of the districts, but we have not been able to trace that vehicle," Kurd told the Guardian. "We are trying to ensure that the vehicle does not leave Quetta."

Another officer, Ahsan Mahboob, said the aid worker had been travelling with a Pakistani doctor and a driver who were not seized.

In a statement, the charity called for Mr Dale's "rapid and unconditional release".

"The ICRC currently has no indication as to the abductors' identities or motives," it said. "Mr Dale's family was informed immediately. Despite the incident, the ICRC will be continuing its humanitarian work in Pakistan."

Quetta is the main town of the insurgency-hit Baluchistan province, which borders both Iran and Afghanistan.

Situated close to Pakistan's border with southern Afghanistan, it is home to the Quetta Shura - the Taliban's leadership council - and is believed to direct a considerable portion of Taliban activity.

This is not the first time foreigners have been kidnapped from the region by either Islamist militants or separatist insurgents.

In 2009, an American working for the United Nations refugee agency in the city was abducted and held for two months.

A Swiss couple were abducted by the Taliban about 100 miles east of Quetta in 2011, and are still being held.

More recently four health workers were kidnapped last week in the Pishin area of Baluchistan, but were freed after a shootout with police.

The Foreign Office (FCO) currently advises against "all but essential" travel to Quetta.

A spokesman for the British Red Cross said they were "aware" of the incident, and were working with the ICRC.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office also said that they were aware of the case but did not give further details.