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High Commissioner expresses shock over Afghan killings

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High Commissioner expresses shock over Afghan killings

12 October 2005

12 October 2005

GENEVA - UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said Wednesday he was deeply shocked over the brutal killing of five Afghan members of a mobile medical team whose agency works closely with UNHCR in Afghanistan. Three others were wounded in the attack.

The humanitarian workers for Afghan Help Development Services (AHDS) were slain Wednesday afternoon in the Kandahar area of southern Afghanistan when two insurgents riding a motorbike opened fire and threw a hand grenade at their vehicle. The vehicle was carrying eight AHDS staff and five were killed. Three other aid workers were wounded, including a nurse who lost her husband in the incident.

"All of us at UNHCR are deeply shocked over this senseless and brutal attack on humanitarian workers," Guterres said in Luxembourg, where he was attending a meeting. "AHDS has worked with UNHCR for years, providing medical aid and help to thousands of their displaced Afghan compatriots. We are outraged by this cowardly attack on our courageous humanitarian partners and friends who gave their lives helping others. We mourn their loss and extend our deepest condolences to their families."

Two of the dead were doctors. The Afghan medical team was on its way to Talo Qan camp for displaced people in the Panjway district of Kandahar. They were attacked near Nal Gham village in Zhare district.

More than 45 humanitarian workers - Afghans and internationals - have been killed in Afghanistan since 2002.