American Kidnapped in Pakistan

The head of a U.N. aid office in Pakistan was kidnapped today, the first single-national American kidnapped in Pakistan since Daniel Pearl was abducted and killed in 2002.

John Solecki's sport utility vehicle was attacked in Chaman Housing, a posh residential area in Quetta, while he was on his way to work at the local U.N High Commissioner for Refugees office, according to officials.

At least one gunman, working with a driver and at least one accomplice, fired into the car, which was not bulletproof, killing Solecki's driver Syed Hashim, the officials added.

The car then hit a wall and Solecki was hustled out of his vehicle into the kidnappers' car.

"It's difficult to establish now whether he was targeted because he was an American, but he was definitely targeted for being a foreigner," a senior intelligence official in Quetta told ABC News.

The officials say they have sealed exit routes leading out of the city.

Quetta is the capital of Baluchistan, the poorest of Pakistan's four provinces, a place crawling with militants and an area that has suffered from years of low-level insurgency. But it has been quiet lately, and officials say they cannot recall another foreigner being targeted in Quetta.

Solecki had been in Quetta for more than two years, local officials say, who confirm that he was an American.

The U.S. Embassy said it is looking into the reports but did not provide any details.

"We strongly condemn this attack on humanitarian workers in Pakistan who have been doing their utmost to deliver their humanitarian mission," the U.N. mission in Pakistan said in a statement. "The United Nations is now taking all possible measures to secure his release."

The U.N. refugee agency has 49 staff in Quetta, where it has worked for the last 29 years helping about 400,000 Afghan refugees in Baluchistan, according to the United Nations.

The work includes security, medical and development projects in refugee camps, as well as repatriation services.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Mahmood Qureshi called the attack a "dastardly terrorist act" in a statement.

Daniel Pearl

Daniel Pearl, the South Asia bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal, was reporting from Karachi after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks when he was kidnapped in January 2002.

Until today, no American who doesn't also hold Pakistani citizenship had been kidnapped in Pakistan since Pearl.

Most of the attacks on Westerners in Pakistan have been restricted to Peshawar, the largest city in the North West Frontier province.

In early November Stephan Vance, the head of a USAID project overseeing development in the tribal areas along the Afghanistan border, was shot and killed outside his home.

Two months before that, the U.S. consul general in Peshawar, Lynn Tracy, survived a gun attack in the same area of Peshawar where Vance was killed.

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