UNHCR chief mourns killing of three staff in Afghanistan attack

News Stories, 31 October 2011

© REUTERS/Ahmad Nadeem
A police officer earlier today inspects damage to the UNHCR office in Kandahar.

GENEVA, October 31 (UNHCR) UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres on Monday mourned the killing earlier in the day of three UNHCR staff and wounding of two more during an attack in the southern Afghanistan town of Kandahar.

"This is a tragedy for UNHCR and for the families of the dead and wounded. It also underscores the great risks for humanitarian workers in Afghanistan," said Guterres. "I am hugely saddened. All of us at UNHCR stand in solidarity with the families of those who have died or been injured."

A UNHCR press release said that "around 6:00am today, an organized attack in Kandahar involving suicide bombers and gunmen resulted in the deaths of three UNHCR employees at our compound and the wounding of two other staff members."

UNHCR has been working in Afghanistan since the 1980s, and over this period it has facilitated the return of millions of refugees and assisted other forcibly displaced people inside Afghanistan.

"We are seeking a fuller understanding of the circumstances of today's attack, nevertheless the fact remains that people working for us have been wounded and killed and the functioning of our Kandahar office seriously disrupted," the press release said.