UN chief condemns attack on demining NGO in Afghanistant

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday strongly condemned the heinous attack on a nongovernmental organization (NGO) in northern Afghanistan, which left 10 people dead and 16 others injured.The HALO Trust, the NGO under attack, has a strong global partnership with the United Nations in operations to clear landmines and other explosives and to better the lives of vulnerable people, said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for Guterres.

“We send heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased, and we wish for a speedy and full recovery to the injured. We further call for a full investigation to ensure that those responsible for this horrendous attack are held accountable and brought to justice,” he told reporters.

The United Nations is committed to staying and delivering in Afghanistan. Aid workers, particularly women, are facing increased attacks and harassment as they go about their work. Between January and April 2021, 11 aid workers were killed, 27 injured and 36 abducted, said the spokesman.”Our humanitarian colleagues warn that interference with humanitarian activities escalated in 2020, with a 140 percent increase in incidents compared to 2019. This escalating trend continues in 2021,” he noted.Parties to the conflict in Afghanistan are strongly urged to protect civilians, aid workers and civilian infrastructure, including schools and hospitals, in compliance with international humanitarian law, he said.

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