UN Mission in Afghanistan assesses staff reduction following deadly attack

24 November 2003

The United Nations mission in Afghanistan is assessing a staff reduction in the south, southeast and east of the country following a recent spate of attacks, including the killing of an international staff member, but any such move will be measured against the projects and operations in progress there.

“We are looking at how best our operations can continue with a reduced presence if that is warranted,” a spokesman for the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) told a briefing in the Afghan capital of Kabul yesterday.

“In certain cases, if it demands a low presence, we are looking at how those operations can continue,” spokesman David Singh said. “These are temporary measures to lower visibility until the situation is reassessed again in probably another two weeks.”

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) last week withdrew 30 international staff from the border area and closed reception centres in four provinces after a French national working for the agency was shot and killed in Ghazni city.

At the time Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the UN was already taking new steps to protect staff that would involve changes in the way the world body works in Afghanistan as it seeks to continue its operations there.


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