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Top UN envoy in Afghanistan strongly condemns killing of 3 election workers

Top UN envoy in Afghanistan strongly condemns killing of 3 election workers

Jean Arnault
The senior United Nations envoy in Afghanistan strongly condemned today's killing of two international staff and their Afghan interpreter who were scouting locations for voter registration sites in the country's mountainous northeast.

A statement issued by a spokesman for Jean Arnault, head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), said the UN envoy was "shocked and saddened" by the killings. The incident was "also a reminder of how important security is and will continue to be if the aspiration of the Afghans to participate in the electoral process is to materialize," it added.

The victims were travelling in the district of Nuristan, where they were evaluating the feasibility of establishing voter registration sites, in preparation for national elections set for September. They worked for London-based Global Risk Strategies, whose services have been contracted to provide logistic and security assessments to the electoral process in Afghanistan.

"The precise circumstances of the attack are not yet known. The United Nations is reassured that the authorities have undertaken to conduct a thorough investigation in order to identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice," the statement said, adding that Mr. Arnault extended his sympathy to the families and colleagues of the victims.

Afghans are enthusiastically supporting the electoral process, the statement said. Since last December, they have registered in large numbers wherever registration sites were available and have urged the electoral authorities to expand voter registration far and wide. Coincidentally, a delegation of influential Nuristanis visited Kabul recently to impress upon the electoral authorities their wish to begin registration there as soon as possible.

"The United Nations reaffirms its own commitment to assist the Joint Electoral Management Body and its Electoral Secretariat in making this participation possible," the statement concluded.