'Gentle' British aid worker murdered in Pakistan

A recent photograph of Khalil Rasjed Dale, who was abducted in January. Credit: Jim McEwan

The beheaded body of a kidnapped British humanitarian worker has been found in the Pakistani city of Quetta.

Khalil Rasjed Dale, 60, was abducted by suspected militants on January 5 while on his way home in a clearly-marked International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) vehicle.

His body was found today on the outskirts of Quetta, which borders southern Afghanistan, and is home to the Quetta Shura - the Taliban's leadership council.

Mr Dale was known as Ken when he worked as a staff nurse in the A&E department at Dumfries Infirmary, later becoming a Muslim convert and changing his name.

ITV News reporter Harry Smith reports:

Frank Ryan, a friend of Khalil Dale, said he was an "amazing man" who undertook dangerous work and had been previously captured in Mogadishu, Somalia.

I was deeply saddened to hear about the brutal murder of Khalil Dale - a man who was killed whilst providing humanitarian support to others. This was a shocking and merciless act, carried out by people with no respect for human life and the rule of law. Khalil Dale has dedicated many years of his life to helping some of the most vulnerable people in the world and my thoughts today are with his friends and family.

Foreign Secretary William Hague expressed his sympathy to the family of Mr Dale.

I learned with great sadness earlier today of the killing of Khalil Dale by his kidnappers in Baluchistan province, Pakistan. Mr Dale, a British humanitarian worker, was kidnapped in January this year. Since then tireless efforts have been under way to secure his release, and the British Government has worked closely with the Red Cross throughout. I utterly condemn the kidnapping and killing of Mr Dale, and send my deepest condolences to his family and loved ones as they come to terms with their tragic and distressing loss.

This was a senseless and cruel act, targeting someone whose role was to help the people of Pakistan, and causing immeasurable pain to those who knew Mr Dale. My thoughts are with them, and with all those who have dedicated their lives to assisting the world's most vulnerable people through the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

At the time of his kidnapping, police in Quetta said Mr Dale was abducted by unknown assailants riding a Landcruiser, following a visit to a local school. He had been travelling with a Pakistani doctor and a driver, who were not seized.

Khalil Rasjed Dale was 200 metres from the ICRC residence when he was kidnapped. Credit: British Red Cross/PA Wire

The ICRC said they were "devastated" by Mr Dale's "barbaric" killing.

The ICRC condemns in the strongest possible terms this barbaric act. All of us at the ICRC and at the British Red Cross share the grief and outrage of Khalil's family and friends. We are devastated. Khalil was a trusted and very experienced Red Cross staff member who significantly contributed to the humanitarian cause.

Mr Dale had worked for the ICRC and the British Red Cross for many years, the charity said, having previously been posted in Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq. He had been in Quetta for almost a year when he was abducted.

Local police said that Mr Dale's body was found in an orchard, with a note attached saying that he was killed because no ransom was paid to his captors.

British Red Cross chief executive Sir Nick Young said:

"Khalil Dale has been a committed member of the Red Cross Red Crescent family for the last 30 years. He was a gentle, kind person, who devoted his life to helping others, including some of the world's most vulnerable people."