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Afghanistan: UN Condemns ‘horrendous Attack’ On Demining Partner HALO Trust


The United Nations on Wednesday called for an
investigation into the deadly attack in northern Afghanistan
against the HALO Trust, a humanitarian group working to rid
the country of landmines.

Ten people were killed, and
16 others injured, when gunmen burst into a demining camp in
Baghlan-e-Markazi district and opened fire.

HALO Trust
said the attack occurred around 9:50 pm Tuesday, local time,
when some 110 men, from local communities in northern
Afghanistan, were in the camp after finishing their work on
nearby minefields.

Bring perpetrators to
justice

In strongly condemning the attack, UN
Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said the HALO Trust is a
global partner in operations to clear landmines, and other
explosive devices, and to better the lives of vulnerable
people.

“Wesend heartfelt condolences to the
families of the deceased,andwewish for a speedy and
full recovery to the injured”, he said,
during his latest media briefing in New York.

“We
further call for a full investigation to ensure that those
responsible for this horrendous attack are held accountable
and brought to justice. TheUnited
Nationsiscommitted to staying and delivering in
Afghanistan.”

Outrage and condemnation

Dr.
Ramiz Alakbarov, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in
Afghanistan, echoed the call for an
investigation.

“It is repugnant that an organization
that works to clear landmines and other explosives and
better the lives of vulnerable people could be targeted”,
he said in a statement.

Since 1989, more than 40,000
Afghans have been killed by landmines and other explosive
remnants of war, according to data from the UN Mine Action
Service (UNMAS). Last year it
helped the country to clear some 14 square kilometres of
land.

“UNMAS is outraged by and condemns
in the strongest terms the attack on humanitarian deminers
last night in Afghanistan,” the agency said in a post on
Twitter.

“We are dismayed and saddened
for the victims, their families, and the terror inflicted on
the survivors.”

Human targets

The UN mission
in the country, UNAMA, also took to
Twitter to condemn the attack, describing it as “deeply
shocking”.

UNAMA stated that warring parties “have
a fundamental responsibility to safeguard humanitarians in
the areas they control. Yet it is clear that certain parties
and people within their ranks are deliberately targeting
them.”

The mission added that “all those parties
claiming to desire peace for the Afghan people need to
demonstrate concrete action to support their claims and put
an end to the terrible crimes such as witnessed in
Baghlan”.

The UN has underlined its commitment to
staying in the country, where aid workers, particularly
women, are facing increased attacks and harassment.

Mr
Dujarric reported that 11 were killed, 27 injured and 36
abducted, between January and April of this
year.

“Our humanitarian colleagues warn that
interference with humanitarian activities escalated in 2020,
with a 140 per cent increase in incidents compared to 2019.
This escalating trend continues in 2021”, he
said.

He urged parties to the conflict to protect
civilians, aid workers and civilian structures such as
schools and hospitals, in line with international
humanitarian
law.

© Scoop Media

 



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