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Afghanistan: Two Female Electoral Staff Killed

UN Envoy Condemns Deadly Attack On Female Electoral Staff In Afghanistan

The senior United Nations envoy in Afghanistan today voiced profound outrage at a deadly attack against electoral workers which left two women killed on the outskirts of Jalalabad.

Three other female workers are in critical condition as well as a boy accompanying his mother, while nine suffered lighter injuries when an explosion hit a locally hired mini-bus transporting the electoral staff to begin today's voter registration activities in the district of Rodad, Nangarhar Province.

According to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, preliminary information indicates that explosives were placed in the mini-bus. Although the vehicle's driver left the mini-bus shortly before the explosion, he was subsequently caught and is now in the custody of Afghan authorities.

The killed and wounded were Afghan women working in the East to enable other women to join millions of their countrymen who will vote in the upcoming elections. Their efforts were largely successful, with the Eastern region second only to the Kabul region in voter registration, with close to 600.000 registered voters. Thirty-five percent of these are women with their numbers rising fast, in spite of well-known cultural limitations. ' "Their killers probably wanted to stop this momentum towards broad female participation," UN envoy Jean Arnault said in Kabul. "They will not reach their goal."

UNAMA has sent a team of doctors and nurses from Kabul to support the Jalalabad Hospital staff who are taking care of the wounded. The critically wounded are being evacuated from Jalalabad by helicopter.

As a temporary precaution while the situation is being assessed and further security measures taken, the electoral authorities are restricting the movement of the Secretariat's female staff. The registration of women continues wherever possible.

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