British employee of ICRC kidnapped in Pakistan

5th January 2012, Comments 0 comments

Unidentified gunmen on Thursday kidnapped a British employee of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Pakistan's troubled southwestern province of Baluchistan, police said.

The official was seized in Quetta, the main town of insurgency-hit Baluchistan, which borders both Iran and Afghanistan.

"Khalil Ahmad Dale was standing in front of his office when unknown gunmen riding a Landcruiser picked him and took him away," Nazir Kurd, a senior police official in Quetta told AFP. "He has a British passport."

An ICRC official in Quetta, who requested anonymity as he was not authorised to talk to the media, confirmed the abduction.

Kidnappings are a plague in parts of Baluchistan and northwest Pakistan, where criminals looking for ransom snatch foreigners and locals, sometimes passing their hostages on to Taliban- and Al-Qaeda-linked groups.

A Swiss couple, Olivier David Och, 31, and Daniela Widmer, 28, were kidnapped in July 2011 while travelling in Baluchistan's Loralai district, 170 kilometres (105 miles) east of Quetta.

The Taliban later claimed the abduction, saying they had been moved to Pakistan's tribal belt on the Afghan border, a notorious haven for the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. The pair are still being held.

Baluchistan is in the grip of a regional insurgency for self-determination, and is also a flashpoint for Taliban and sectarian violence.

© 2012 AFP

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