Tributes are pouring in for Khalil Rasjed Dale, 60, a doctor for the International Committee of the Red Cross, who was abducted by suspected Taliban fighters on January 5 while on his way home from work.

ICRC Director-General Yves Daccord said in a statement: “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.”

Dale’s former colleague and friend, Shiele Howett, also expressed her shock and sadness.

“My friend, Ken, as I knew him then before he got his Islamic name, was the most wonderful person you could wish to meet, he was caring and devoted to caring for other people less fortunate than himself. His entire life was given to caring for others,”

She added: “It’s unbelievable and barbaric what they have done, Ken did not deserve that. As I say, he cared for others, but got no thanks in return for what he did for them. Sad.”

Dale had been held captive in Pakistan since January. Police discovered his body on Sunday, wrapped in plastic near a western bypass road in the Pakistan city of Quetta.

His name was written on the white plastic with black marker, and police say there was a note attached saying he was killed because no ransom was paid.

Dale had worked for the RCRC and the British Red Cross in Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq before arriving in Pakistan, where he had been managing a health programme for Baluchistan.

His friend, journalist Frank Ryan, told how Dale had diced with death in his career.

“He was an amazing man, really. His frail appearance, his gentle appearance, really belied the sort of work he was doing. I mean he described to me his adventures in Africa, which were extensive, they were quite life-threatening, he’d been captured before, before this incident, in Mogadishu I think it was, and he had had rifles pointed at his head and he had been robbed at gunpoint, all sorts of things,” Ryan said.

Dale is the third Westerner to be beheaded in Pakistan, after Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2001 and Piotr Stanczak, a Polish geologist, in 2009.