Photo of UN worker who was killed in Afghanistan
Mohammed Nazir Habibi
2 UN workers killed in Afghanistan

AFP, July 20,1998

GENEVA, July 20,1998 (AFP) - Two Afghans working for UN aid agencies were killed in Afghanistan after being kidnapped in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, the UNHCR said Monday.

Mohammed Nazir Habibi, 49, worked for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and Mohammed Hashim Bahsaryar, 55, for the World Food Progamme (WFP). Both were found dead this weekend after having been abducted on July 13.

"I express our outrage," said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata, while the executive director of the WFP, Catherine Bertini, condemned what she called "this evil act."

Bertini added: "These brutal killings are a cruel reminder that depite appeals for greater respect for humanitarian workers, some people or groups continue to kill with impunity."

News of the killings came as a number of non-governmental aid agencies left the Afghan capital Kabul Monday after raids by Taliban militia on their offices and the arrest of Afghan staff.

The raids followed a Taliban-decreed deadline for aid workers to regroup in a single delapidated compound.

UNHCR spokesman Fernando del Mundo said he did not know who was behind the murders of the two Afghan staff members and that an inquiry was under way. The killings took place in a zone controlled by the fundamentalist Islamic Taliban militia.

The pair were kidnapped from Jalalabad University, where they had taught, while waiting for a UN vehicle to take them to work.

The UNHCR and the WFP contacted the local Taliban governor to try to find them. The body of Bahsaryar was found on Saturday on the outskirts of Jalalabad, and that of Habibi on Sunday near Torkham, not far from the Pakistani border.

At least 10 aid agencies were shut down on Monday's raids in Kabul, with the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) also being raided by Taliban officials.

The European Commission announced earlier Monday that it had suspended humanitarian aid to Kabul in protest at the harassment of aid organisations by the Taliban.

On Saturday ECHO pulled out their expatriate staff amid security fears and after the purist Moslem Taliban accused the European commissioner for humanitarian affairs, Emma Bonino, of using aid to propagate Christianity.

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