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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Monday 9 May 2005

AFGHANISTAN: UN work continues despite killing of staff member

KABUL, 9 May 2005 (IRIN) - The United Nations in Kabul announced on Monday that relief and development work would continue in Afghanistan despite the death of an international staff member in a bomb blast in the capital Kabul, on Saturday.

The bomb went off in a city centre internet café killing three people including Timt Swe, a Burmese UN staff member, and injuring five others.

“The United Nations is saddened by the killing of one of its employees,” Ariane Quentier, a spokesperson for United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), told IRIN.

She said, Swe was in his late 30s and worked for the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).

The café is at the front of a guesthouse frequented by foreigners and located in the Shar-e-Naw neighbourhood, a crowded area in the heart of Kabul.

“Police have been trying to determine if the explosive was carried by a suicide attacker or placed in the cafe,” Lutfullah Mashal, a spokesperson for the interior ministry, said on Sunday.
There have been occasional bomb blasts in Kabul, including suicide attacks against NATO peacekeepers, since US-led forces overthrew the Taliban government in late 2001.

The deadliest attack was in September 2002, when more than 20 people were killed and scores wounded by a car bomb on a busy Kabul street.

Another car bomb blast in August 2004, also in the Shar-e-Naw area close to the office of a private American security company, killed at least 11 people.

Saturday’s bombing followed several failed attempts to kidnap international aid workers in Kabul.

“The NGO community has been on a very high state of alert in the days leading up to this incident particularly with recent threats of kidnap,” said Nick Downie, head of the Afghan NGO Security Office (ANSO).

”The community here is fortunate not to have lost more lives. The timing of the explosion was not optimum perhaps the explosion was premature. There were certainly more internationals [foreign aid workers] inside the premises immediately before the explosion,” Downie noted.

United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, urged measures to combat insecurity in the war-ravaged country.

“The Secretary-General is concerned about the increase in violence witnessed in recent weeks,” a spokesman for Annan said in a statement released on Monday. He called on the Afghan government, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force for Afghanistan (ISAF), and Coalition forces, to take necessary measures to address the deteriorating security situation.

[ENDS]

This material comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Quotations or extracts should include attribution to the original sources. All materials copyright © UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2005



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