UN officials condemn killing of aid workers in Afghanistan

28 September 2003

United Nations officials in Kabul today deplored the murder of two Afghan aid workers who died of gunshot wounds near Kandahar earlier this week.

David Singh, a spokesman for the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) condemned “in the strongest possible terms the vicious and deliberate killing” of the victims, who were working for the Voluntary Association for Rehabilitation of Afghanistan (VARA), a local non-governmental organization (NGO) which partners with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The incident took place on Wednesday, when assailants, who were in a taxi, attempted to divert a VARA vehicle. When the driver refused, they opened fire and shot one worker, killing him instantly. The driver sustained serious injuries and died the following day in the Coalition hospital in Kandahar.

“These acts are being committed against dedicated Afghans who, on a daily basis and in spite of the risk, deliver critical services to their own people,” Mr. Singh said. “These crimes can have no justification.”

Under international law, attacks knowingly and intentionally directed against personnel involved in humanitarian assistance constitute war crimes, Mr. Singh pointed out. “These recent killings once more confirm the critical necessity for all parties concerned to establish security throughout the country,” he said.


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