Ban distressed by UN deaths in Afghanistan

AFP – UN chief Ban Ki-moon expressed distress Tuesday over the deaths of five UN contractors in a bomb attack in Afghanistan, as well over mounting civilian casualties in the country.

“The secretary general was deeply distressed to learn of the fatal incident which occurred earlier this morning, when a UN convoy was hit by a remote-controlled explosive in Kandahar city, resulting in the death” of five UN workers, his spokeswoman Michele Montas said in a statement.

Four Nepalese security guards and an Afghan driver were killed in the bombing, in one of the deadliest attacks on the world body in Afghanistan since 2001.

Ban also expressed sadness over an explosion which killed at least four children and wounded four others at a school in the western Afghan city of Herat.

Montas said the UN chief “strongly condemns such despicable acts of violence against civilians.”

The attack which killed an Afghan driver and four Nepalese contractors working with the United Nations office for project services in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar was claimed by the ousted Taliban.

The United Nations, which oversees reconstruction in post-conflict Afghanistan, said the attack was “a clear violation of international humanitarian law and the UN will be pursuing full accountability for those who are behind this.”

The bomb almost completely destroyed the armored UN vehicle and its smoking wreckage lay across a road near the center of the city. Police were trying to remove two bodies trapped inside, an AFP reporter witnessed.

The blast came two days after four Afghan employees of a US-owned private security firm were killed by a motorcycle-borne suicide bomber at Kandahar airfield, a base for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

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