A British Red Cross doctor was kidnapped at gunpoint in Pakistan yesterday.

Dr Khalil Dale is understood to have been abducted by unidentified assailants close to his base in Quetta, in the troubled south-western Baluchistan province earlier today.

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

Dr Dale, a health programme manager who was seconded to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), was abducted as he made his way home in a clearly-marked ICRC vehicle at around 1pm local time.

His assailants are said to have bundled him into a car some 200 meters from an ICRC residence, in an upscale housing complex.

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

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.~

"The ICRC is calling for the rapid and unconditional release of its kidnapped staff member."

A spokesman for the British Red Cross said: "We are aware of an incident involving a Red Cross worker in Pakistan earlier today and are working with the International Committee of the Red Cross, and Red Cross Red Crescent Movement internationally to seek further clarification of the situation."

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.

The Foreign Office (FCO) currently advises against "all but essential" travel to Quetta. Advice on its website warns of a "heightened risk from kidnapping and militant activity" in much of Baluchistan.