Kidnapped aid worker found dead in Pakistan

International Red Cross Committee vehicles parked outside a relief supplies warehouse in South Sudan. A member of the ICRC who had been kidnapped in January was found dead in Pakistan. Photo by: icrc_tok / CC BY-NC-ND

Members of the international community are one in grief and outrage over the beheading of a Red Cross staff member who had been held captive in Pakistan since January. He is the latest victim of violence against aid workers in the country.

The body of Khalil Dale, a U.K. citizen, was discovered April 29 (Sunday) outside the city of Quetta in the province of Balochistan. A note was reportedly attached to the body claiming the beheading was carried out because no one paid ransom.

It is still unclear who is responsible for Dale’s abduction and killing, but Pakistani intelligence agents are investigating whether the Taliban are involved,The Associated Press says. Quetta is located near Pakistan’s border with the Afghan province of Kandahar, where U.S.-led forces are battling Taliban forces.

Dale was kidnapped in January while traveling in a clearly marked International Red Cross Committee vehicle in Quetta. He was at the time returning to his house, which was only a few meters away from where he was abducted.

ICRC Director-General Yves Daccord condemned Dale’s murder as a “barbaric act” and said Red Cross staff members were devastated with the news. The sentiment was shared by top U.K. government officials, with Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell describing the incident as “appalling.”

The head of the British Red Cross, meanwhile, highlighted the need to protect aid workers like Dale who work in dangerous environments. They “should be allowed to work free from threats of abduction and violence,” Sir Nick Young said.

Pakistan is among the most dangerous working environments for aid and development professionals, along with Afghanistan, Sudan and Somalia, according to the latest Aid Worker Security Report.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.