KABUL, 17 June 2014 – The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) strongly condemns the continued, targeted killing of Afghan election workers in the wake of the historic second round of the country’s Presidential election last Saturday.
The violence includes the killing of two employees of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) during an attack on a convoy transporting ballot boxes in the southern province of Helmand on Monday; and the deaths of eight IEC workers – along with another two civilians, including a child – by a remote-controlled improvised explosive device planted on a road in the northern province of Samangan on Saturday.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in Samangan, stating that they had deliberately targeted a vehicle carrying poll workers.
“Yet again, the people of Afghanistan are subject to cowardly, murderous attacks, including on those that work as election officials – it must be made clear that the latter are civilians and should not be targeted. They play a fundamental role in helping their fellow civilians exercise their right to determine the future of their country through democratic elections," said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, Ján Kubiš. “Electoral workers must be able to carry out their important work without the threat of violence or intimidation.”
Equally appalling as the attacks of the past days are the vicious attacks against civilians which took place on the election day itself. Fifty-three civilians were killed and another 161 injured in violence perpetrated by anti-Government elements – Afghans killing Afghan civilians. The horrifying number of fatalities includes 20 children and at least ten women.
UNAMA reiterates that attacks directed against civilians are serious violations of international humanitarian law which parties to the armed conflict – including all anti-Government elements – must uphold. Crimes against civilians will not be forgotten and those responsible for these crimes will eventually be held accountable.
The Mission expresses its condolences to the families of the victims.