October 21, 2017

Afghan Red Cross workers ‘killed by IS’

5rrSix Afghan Red Cross workers have been killed by suspected Islamic State (IS) group gunmen in the northern province of Jowzjan, officials say.
The workers were shot dead in the Qush Tepa area, the governor told the BBC.
Two others are unaccounted for, feared abducted by the group, he said. The ICRC confirmed the deaths but said it did not know who had killed its staff.
IS has been active in Afghanistan since 2015, claiming recent attacks in the east and Kabul.
There was no immediate claim for the attack in Jowzjan.
The ICRC said in a tweet that it was “shocked and devastated” by the news. The organisation’s head, Peter Maurer, said it was a deliberate attack on his staff which “we condemn in the strongest possible terms”.
The ICRC has had an uninterrupted presence in Afghanistan for 30 years and says it will now assess its operations in the country.
Government officials said the Red Cross staff were transporting supplies including livestock materials to areas affected by recent deadly snowstorms when their convoy was attacked.
Jowzjan governor Lutfullah Azizi confirmed to the BBC that all six employees who were killed were Afghan.
Provincial police chief Rahmatullah Turkistani told the Reuters news agency that the bodies of the six workers had been taken to the provincial capital Sheberghan, and a search had begun to find the two ICRC employees who had not been accounted for.
Taliban militants have also targeted the Red Cross in the past – its office in Jalalabad was attacked in 2013.
IS announced it was expanding into Afghanistan in January 2015 and has secured footholds in parts of eastern Nangarhar province, on the border with Pakistan.
But Afghan troops and the Taliban have prevented them from moving permanently beyond that, observers say.
Since mid-2016 the group appears to have switched tactics, launching a series of deadly attacks against Shia Muslims and others in Kabul and bombing a mosque in the northern province of Balkh, neighbouring Jowzjan, in October.
On Wednesday, IS said it had carried out an attack at the Supreme Court in Kabul a day earlier, killing at least 20 people.

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