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British aid worker's murder highlights growing risks of running projects in strife-torn areas

Islamabad, Tue, 01 May 2012 ANI

Islamabad, May 1(ANI): The murder of a kidnapped British humanitarian worker in Pakistan has raised concerns in the aid community about the growing risks of running projects in the most conflict-ridden areas of the country.

Khalil Dale's beheaded body was recovered by Quetta Police, the capital of the volatile southern province of Balochistan, which has been hit by abductions and a wave of sectarian violence.

One aid worker described Dale's killing as a "step change", which is likely to force aid organizations to re-evaluate their work in the country.

A Pakistan Humanitarian Forum spokesperson said non-governmental organizations would "rethink security procedures, our movements and whether we can operate with international staff in Baluchistan".

The latest incident comes as a setback to the International Commission for Red Cross' track record of successfully operating in some of the world's most dangerous places by building good working relationships with all sides involved in a conflict.

Labour MP for Dumfries and Galloway Russell Brown said the Foreign Office did not get involved to allow the ICRC to develop its own approaches and contacts with the kidnappers, to downplay Dale's British links and avoid further political and diplomatic complications about his role in Pakistan.

"There was not a lot of a political spotlight being brought on his capture, which was understandable. This man was working in the field of humanitarian aid, and should [have been] released," he said.

Security think- tank director Mohammad Amir Rana thought the latter was most likely, as separatists, lacking the capability to hold hostages for long periods, are often in a hurry.

"The Baloch nationalists are quite harsh, they have less tolerance and if their demands are not met they react like this," Rana said. (ANI)

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