UN condemns Taleban for killing its worker, 6 children

Business Recorder, May 26, 2000

ISLAMABAD (May 26) : The United Nations on Thursday condemned the ruling Taleban in Afghanistan for a deadly bombing attack on the house of one its officials in north-east of the country last week in which seven persons were killed. "The Taleban bombardment of Taloqan on the night of May 20 in Takhar province has devastated the family of field worker Bashir Ahmad of the United Nations supported Comprehensive Disabled Afghans Programme," a statement issued by the UN here said. The CDAP is part of the UNDP programme in Afghanistan, implemented by the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan in Takhar. The Office of the UN Coordinator on Afghanistan statement said that a bomb landed directly on Ahmad's house, in the room in which his children were sleeping, killing him and six of his seven children. Although severely injured, Mrs Ahmad and her sole surviving child, a six-year-old daughter, are recovering in Taloqan provincial hospital. Born in 1960, Ahmad devoted much of his life to helping others. Before joining the CDAP in July 1999, he worked as a rural engineer for Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, and before that as a field supervisor for Afghan aid.

As a mid-level rehabilitation worker with CDAP, Ahmad identified the disabled in the community and served as their first point of contact. Managing a caseload of about 30 disabled people, Ahmed engaged in home visits and arranged services for the disabled, including physiotherapy and job training. He also was active in training, families in the care of their disabled members. "This is not the first time that indiscriminate aerial bombardment or rocketing has killed Afghan civilians. Inflicting such suffering is unconscionable," said UN Co-ordinator Erick de Mul.

The UN has repeatedly called for all military and political authorities in Afghanistan to respect the rights of non-combatants to be treated as civilians and to refrain from military activity that targets or results in avoidable harm and suffering of civilians. In August 1999, the UN secretary general urged the parties to the Afghan conflict to immediately end the conflict and take measures to ensure the protection of civilians and to ensure the safe and free movement of relief workers. Security Council Resolution 1265 (1999) emphasises the need for combatants to ensure the safety, security and freedom of movement of UN and associated personnel as well as personnel of international humanitarian organisations. The resolution also condemns attacks and the use of force against UN and associated personnel, as well as personnel of international humanitarian organisations, and affirms the need to hold accountable those who commit such acts.--Internews

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