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UN Deplores Attacks Against Afghan Civilians

Top UN envoy deplores recent attacks against Afghan civilians

22 October 2008 – The top United Nations envoy to Afghanistan has condemned recent attacks against civilians in the violence-wracked nation, including a suicide bombing on Monday that killed five children in Kunduz, the murder of a number of passengers on a bus in Kandahar and the killing of a foreign aid worker in the capital, Kabul.

“I have stressed many times over the past months the need for proper protection of civilians during combat. With these incidents there was no combat,” Kai Eide, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, said in a statement issued yesterday.

“The purpose of such attacks is to stoke fear among the wider population,” he noted. “I strongly condemn all such acts.”

The Special Representative said his thoughts, as well as those of all those working for the UN in Afghanistan, are with the families and friends of those who have been killed and of those that remain missing.

Gayle Williams, a 34-year-old dual British-South African national who worked for the Christian non-governmental organization (NGO) known as SERVE Afghanistan as a volunteer on projects assisting the disabled, was shot dead on Monday as she walked to work in Kabul.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke out against the killing as well as those of two local UN staff members in Somalia during the past week, and voiced his alarm at the growing number of attacks against humanitarian workers in both countries.

Also on Monday, five children were among those killed in a suicide car bomb attack in the northern province of Kunduz.

Meanwhile, Taliban militants seized a bus in the volatile southern province of Kandahar over the weekend and reportedly executed at least two dozen passengers, beheading some of them.

ENDS

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