KABUL, 4 April 2013 – The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) strongly condemns an attack against a Government compound in the south-western province of Farah on 3 April that resulted in the deaths of at least 41 civilians, most of whom were civilian Government workers, and injuries to more than 100 others.
Among the civilians killed were two judges and six prosecutors, as well as administration officers and cleaners working at the site. The attack was the deadliest for Afghan civilians since December 2011.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, stating that they intended to target civilian Government employees, in particular workers in the courts and prosecutors’ offices.
“The United Nations again calls on the Taliban to follow through on their previous public commitments to protect civilians,” said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, Ján Kubiš. “Who is a ‘civilian’ requiring protection is not a matter of controversy; the term is defined in international law and parties to the conflict, including the Taliban, are obliged to abide by this definition.”
UNAMA notes that international humanitarian law defines civilians as all those who do not take a direct part in hostilities and who are not combatants – such as civilian Government employees. Attacks against civilians are prohibited at all times and may amount to war crimes.
The civilian toll of Afghanistan’s armed conflict has already increased in 2013. UNAMA has repeatedly called on all parties to the armed conflict to increase their efforts to protect civilians. With the onset of the spring fighting season, UNAMA again highlights the obligations of parties to take all necessary measures to protect civilians.
UNAMA expresses its deepest condolences to the victims of the attack and their families, and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured.
Download this press statement in English | Dari | Pashto