UN, NGOs review security measures after Kabul attack


Kabul : Some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in Afghanistan have temporarily imposed restrictions on their international staff members’ movements in Kabul after gunmen attacked a high-profile hotel, aid workers and Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry said on Jan 15.

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Seven people were killed, including two foreigners, and six others were injured in the attack on the city’s Serena Hotel, which is close to the Presidential Palace where many foreign diplomats and other visiting dignitaries reside.

The incident has caused some NGOs to review their security measures but would not greatly affect the activities of international aid agencies in the country, Anja de Beer, director of ACBAR, a network of NGOs in Afghanistan, told IRIN in Kabul.

Zemaray Bashari, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry, asked international aid organisations to continue their work as normal. “Afghan police will ensure their safety and security,” he said.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) was also reviewing staff security measures on 15 January, but no restrictions had been announced.

The UN condemned the attack calling it “a senseless crime under both national and international laws”.

“Last night’s attack… is a matter of very great concern to us, representing as it does a deliberate targeting of foreign guests and Afghan civilians working together in support of Afghanistan,” said a UNAMA statement.

A purported Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, confirmed to the media that Taliban insurgents had organised and carried out the attack.

Taliban fighters have often been accused of suicide attacks, using roadside explosive devices and other tactics which invariably affect non-combatants and violate international humanitarian law.