Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Monday, October 29, 2007

Attacks on aid workers on rise in Afghanistan with 34 killed this year

The U.N. reported that 34 aid workers have been killed in Afghanistan this year and called for Taliban militants and other criminals to stop attacking humanitarian aid convoys, particularly with winter looming, The Associated Press reported today.

The convoys have had difficulty accessing Afghanistan’s main highways due to the increasing violence in the south.

“Those responsible for these attacks and for the insecurity are pushing the most vulnerable people outside of our reach,” Tom Koenigs, the head of the U.N. Assistance Mission to Afghanistan, said. “Those responsible for these attacks need to know that they are attacking the welfare of Afghanistan’s most vulnerable communities.”

The World Food Programme (WFP) said that it has been set back $750,000 in stolen aid due to attacks on aid convoys, according to BBC News. Rick Corsino, the head of WFP in Afghanistan, added that the cost of transport has increased to the heightened violence.

“In a majority of these incidents, food was looted ... and so far we have lost something like 100,000 tons of food,” Corsino said.

The continued conflict has “tremendously” worsened the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and 78 districts in the country are rated as “extremely risky” for U.N. workers to operate, Koenigs said.

“Reaching the people is not a political issue, it is a humanitarian priority,” Koenigs said.

For the full Washington Post article, click here.

For the full BBC article, click here.

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