UNAMA condemns attack on humanitarian workers in Jalalabad
KABUL - The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) joins the Afghan authorities and the international community in condemning the attack on the Save the Children office that claimed the lives of several civilians and injured others, many of them humanitarian aid workers.
Facts in the incident have now become clear. On the morning of 24 January, insurgents conducted a complex attack against Save the Children’s Jalalabad office, beginning with a suicide attacker detonating a vehicle-borne explosive device at the gate, followed by several attackers entering the compound. There were additional explosions along with small arms fire throughout the day. The attack continued into the evening, at which time all attackers were killed by Afghan Special Forces.
UNAMA’s Human Rights team has verified civilian casualties as five killed, including a shopkeeper and four Save the Children staff, and 21 other civilians injured. Among those injured, five were Save the Children staff, six were children and the remaining were other civilians living or working in the area. Among those injured, five were Save the Children staff. UNAMA has received reports that one child was killed, but as of yet has been unable to substantiate those reports.
“Targeted attacks on aid workers whose sole purpose is to help those most in need can only be described as acts of terror,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan. “An attack on aid workers serving the children of Afghanistan is an absolute outrage, and those who have organized and enabled this attack must be brought to justice and held to account.”
Afghanistan is one of the most challenging and dangerous environments for humanitarians. In 2017, according to statistics from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, a total of 17 aid workers were killed and 32 injured, even as more than 150 humanitarian partners assisted more than 3.4 million people in the first nine months of the last year.
“Such incidents demonstrate the fundamental, severe challenges that Afghanistan continues to face, but will not deter the international community from assisting Afghans in their efforts to achieve a stable, prosperous and peaceful country,” said Yamamoto. “The United Nations stands in solidarity with the broader humanitarian community.”
On behalf of the United Nations in Afghanistan, Yamamoto expressed his condolences to the loved ones of those killed in the attack and wished a full and speedy recovery to those injured.