When John Solecki, the American U.N. worker kidnapped Monday in Pakistan, started working for the United Nations High Commission on Refugees, he told friends that he had found his calling, according to an opinion piece written by one of his former Columbia College professors.
"He soothes the feelings of people in distress," Richard Bulliet wrote in the International Herald Tribune Tuesday. "They know without his having to say it that he is doing his best to help them. And he does help them."
Bulliet wrote that the calm attitude could be helping Solecki, who serves as head of the U.N. refugee office in the city of Quetta.
"My guess is that he is already trying to talk to them in his direct and unflappable manner. And he is probably aware that people in many governments and agencies are working to secure his release. I'm sure he is calmer than I or anyone else I know would be under similar circumstances."
Gunmen seized Solecki as he traveled to work Monday morning, and shot and killed his driver, U.N. and Pakistani officials said. While the government there called the abduction a "dastardly terrorist act," police said it was not clear whether Islamist militants, criminals seeking a ransom payment or members of a regional separatist group were responsible.
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Bulliet, who did not immediately respond to an interview request by FOXNews.com, openly questioned why this happened to his dear friend.
"Why would anyone kidnap a man who has spent his entire career serving the needs of people in distress under the auspices of the United Nations?," he wrote. "He is an American citizen, but he doesn't work for or represent the United States government."
Quetta is the capital of Baluchistan province, which partly borders Afghanistan. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees has worked for three decades in the region helping hundreds of thousands of Afghans fleeing violence in their homeland.
While a violent region, it has largely been spared the Al Qaeda and Taliban insurgency wracking much of northwestern Pakistan, where several foreigners have been attacked or kidnapped in recent months.
Quetta has been mentioned by Afghan officials as a likely hiding place for Mullah Omar and other Taliban leaders who are thought to have fled Afghanistan after the U.S. invasion in 2001.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.