Red Cross suspends activities in Afghanistan


Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan

The international Red Cross on Thursday temporarily suspended its activities in Afghanistan following an attack that killed six of its employees the previous day in a northern province.

According to Thomas Glass, spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross, the aid group’s “activities are on hold” until Tuesday or possibly longer.

The organization, he told the Associated Press, needs “to reassess how we can conduct our work” safely following Wednesday’s attack near the northern town of Shibirghan.

Glass described the assault as the “worst incident” for ICRC in 16 years in Afghanistan. The eight-person ICRC team was delivering livestock materials near Shibirghan, the capital of Jowzjan province, when the gunmen attacked their convoy.

“We are not planning to leave Afghanistan,” he added. “We need to have a dialogue with all parties in the conflict about the security and safety of our staff.”

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the provincial police chief, Rahmatullah Turkistani, said it was likely carried out by Islamic State militants, who have a presence in the area. The Taliban, who have been waging a 15-year insurgency against the Kabul government, denied involvement.

Earlier on Thursday, an Afghan official said NATO drone strikes killed 11 Islamic State militants, including two senior commanders, in the eastern Nangarhar province.

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