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Four UN personnel among those killed in Afghan suicide bombing

Special Representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Ján Kubiš.
UN Photo/Ryan Brown
Special Representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Ján Kubiš.

Four UN personnel among those killed in Afghan suicide bombing

Top United Nations officials and the Security Council have strongly condemned a suicide attack at a restaurant in the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Friday evening that killed 21 people, including four UN staff members, and injured many more.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described as “horrific” the attack against the Lebanese restaurant, for which the Taliban has reportedly claimed responsibility.

“Such targeted attacks against civilians are completely unacceptable and are in flagrant breach of international humanitarian law. They must stop immediately,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement.

In remarks on Saturday, Mr. Ban said it was “another sad moment” for the UN as it mourns the four colleagues killed in the attack – Basra Hassan of the United States, Nasreen Khan of Pakistan, Khanjar Wabel Abdallah of Lebanon and Vadim Nazarov of Russia.

“All the perpetrators must be held accountable,” he stressed, while adding that as the UN mourns the victims of this latest attack, it remains committed to work for the peace, stability and development of Afghanistan. “We fully support the transition of Afghanistan toward a better future in peace, development and security.”

Basra Hassan and Nasrin Jamal worked with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Afghanistan. “The depth of our shock and sorrow at receiving this news – and the magnitude of our outrage over this senseless violence – is difficult to measure,” the agency said in a statement.

“These colleagues were an integral part of the UNICEF team in Afghanistan and the larger community of international staff, some of whom also perished yesterday in Kabul, who are dedicated to improving the lives of others and building a better, safer world for all.

“The loss of our colleagues is therefore not only a personal one; it is a loss to that indispensable cause. We honor their sacrifice, and deeply mourn their deaths.”

Khanjar Wabel Abdallah was the representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Afghanistan and Vadim Nazarov was the Senior Political Officer at the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

The Mission deplored the bombing and reiterated its condemnation of attacks that deliberately target civilians as gross violations of international humanitarian law.

“This violence is unacceptable and must stop immediately,” the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and UNAMA head Ján Kubiš said in a statement. “I strongly condemn the targeting of civilians in any form, and, in particular, the continued use of suicide bombers.”

The Mission extended its condolences to the families of those killed and its wishes for a speedy recovery to all those injured.

The members of the Security Council issued a statement to the press in which they condemned the terrorist attack “in the strongest terms,” and reiterated their steadfast support for the role of the UN and UN-affiliated organizations in Afghanistan.