Nine aid workers of Czech NGO murdered in Afghanistan
Nine Afghani employees of the Czech organization People in Need were killed last night during an attack perpetrated by armed men in the north of Afghanistan. Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported the news, citing a local representative, and the Czech News Agency confirmed the reports with the organization's director, Šimon Pánek.
The organization has announced it will immediately stop work in all areas of Afghanistan and take the necessary steps to enhance the safety of all its workers in the country. Pánek said People in Need's employees will not be going into the field or to their local offices.
An investigation is underway at the scene of the casualties - the identity of the assailants is unknown, but according to the available information they were not from the region, where People in Need has been working for 13 years. "Last night an attack was perpetrated against the field office of People in Need in northern Afghanistan in the reigon of Zare. During the attack nine of our Afghani coworkers were murdered. We are hereby expressing our deep condolences to the families of our colleagues and our respect for their work, and we condemn this unprecedentedly brutal attack," the organization posted to its website.
Pánek told Czech Television that People in Need will take care of the surviving relatives of those murdered. "There were seven humanitarian aid workers among those killed, six men and one woman, as well as two of their security guards," a representative of the police chief in Balch province, where the incident took place, told AFP.
The police have charged fighters with the radical Taliban movement with committing the attack in one of the country's calmest areas. They attacked dwellings where the People in Need employees were housed.
"Unfortunately, last night unknown armed men attacked our residence and killed nine of our employees," a representative of the organization, who was not named, confirmed to the AFP. The attack was also confirmed by a spokesperson for the local governor, who said it took place around midnight local time.
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