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Senior UN envoy appeals for end to brutal attacks in Afghanistan

30 September 2009 – A senior United Nations official in Afghanistan has appealed for an end to brutal attacks such as the one that killed a large number of civilians in Kandahar province, the fourth incident of its kind in as many weeks to claim innocent lives.

At least 30 civilians – including women and children – travelling on a bus were reportedly killed in yesterday’s roadside blast in Maywand district.

“I appeal to those carrying out these attacks to bring an immediate end to these brutal, senseless actions which result in the loss of innocent civilian lives,” Robert Watkins, the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan, said in a statement issued in Kabul.

“The persistent and indiscriminate use of improvised explosive devices and suicide attacks adds to an ever-increasing death toll,” he added.

Late last month over 40 civilians were killed and at least 80 wounded when a truck bomb exploded in a residential area of Kandahar city near a Japanese construction company, a guest house used by foreigners and government offices. The attack drew strong condemnation from the Security Council, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other UN officials.

Mr. Watkins appealed to all responsible parties to respect core humanitarian principles and take measures to mitigate the impact of the conflict on civilians.

In another development, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has decided to recall Peter Galbraith from Afghanistan and end his appointment with UNAMA. Mr. Galbraith served as the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative, with responsibility for political affairs.

“The Secretary-General recognizes Mr. Galbraith’s important contributions to the work of the mission and throughout his distinguished career as an international civil servant,” his spokesperson said in a statement.

“The Secretary-General has made this decision in the best interest of the mission.”

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