UN re-evaluates Afghan mission after bloody attack

UN re-evaluates Afghan mission after bloody attack

Traumatized U.N. staff in Afghanistan were under orders to stay home Thursday, one day after Taliban militants stormed a guest house in the capital and killed eight people in a brazen attack that is forcing the world body to re-evaluate its mission in the war-ravaged nation, AP reported.

The attack underscored the risks facing U.N. and Afghan officials in organizing a runoff election following the fraud-marred first-round vote Aug. 20, and the massive challenge for the U.S.-led military force in curbing the determined Taliban insurgency. NATO said two members of its military operation in Afghanistan were killed in bomb blasts in the south Wednesday, including one American.

The guest house assault, which left five foreign U.N. staff and three Afghans dead, demonstrated the ease with which Taliban militants can penetrate the relative safety of Kabul. A Taliban spokesman said the attack was aimed at undermining the Nov. 7 presidential election runoff; the target was a small hotel home to the largest concentration of U.N. staffers working on the election.

U.N. spokesman Aleem Siddique said at least nine U.N. staff who survived the two-hour assault on the Bakhtar guest house will be evacuated to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates on Thursday.

The U.N. has ordered its employees to remain "on lockdown," with their movements restricted, Siddique said Thursday, declining to give details for security reasons. Another U.N. staffer said that meant most staff were staying home.

An internal U.N. memo ordered restrictions on movement for the rest of the week and said U.N. departments will be reviewing lists of critical and nonessential personnel, suggesting some people may be moved out of the country for their own safety.

Siddique, however, said "our work continues, and in terms of the elections, preparations are already well advanced. But the impact this will have needs to be evaluated over the coming days, and it's too early to make any judgments."

The Aug. 19, 2003, truck bombing of the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad, which killed 22 people, prompted the U.N. to pull out of Iraq for several years.

An umbrella group of more than 100 local and international aid agencies said aid organizations in Afghanistan "have been subject to increasing numbers of attacks, threats and intimidation by both insurgent and criminal groups."

The Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief said attacks on aid groups are "higher now than in the last six years." Wednesday's violence brought to the number of aid workers killed in Afghanistan this year to at least 23, the group said. Fifteen more have been injured since the start of the year.

"This situation has forced many aid agencies to restrict the scale and scope of their development and humanitarian operations," the group said. "Deteriorating security conditions continue to jeopardize the delivery of essential humanitarian assistance and threaten the livelihoods of the most vulnerable."

The five U.N. staff killed Wednesday were from Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, the Philippines and the United States, Siddique said. The nine wounded suffered mostly cuts and bruises as they tried to escape, he said.

Afghan police and U.N. officials said two security guards and the brother-in-law of one of Afghanistan's most powerful governors, Gul Agha Sherzai, were also killed, in addition to the three attackers.

The two-hour assault on the guest house began shortly before 6 a.m. when three gunmen wearing green uniforms and suicide vests broke into the three-story residential hotel. The crackle of gunfire echoed across the city and explosions set fire to the building, filling the lobby and the upper floors with smoke. Terrified U.N. workers scrambled over the roof or leapt from windows to escape.

About a mile (nearly two kilometers) away from the guest house, one rocket struck the "outer limit" of the presidential palace but caused no casualties, presidential spokesman Humayun Hamidzada said. Two more rockets slammed into the grounds of the luxury Serena Hotel, favored by foreigners, filling the lobby with smoke and forcing guests and employees to take refuge in the basement.

The election pits President Hamid Karzai against former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah and Washington sees it as crucial to restoring legitimacy to the corruption-riddled government. U.N.-backed auditors threw out nearly a third of Karzai's votes from the Aug. 20 ballot because of fraud, pushing Karzai's totals below the 50 percent threshold needed for a first-round victory.

Amazon hiring 150 employees in Israel
Amazon hiring 150 employees in Israel
Covid-19 daily infections swell 12% to new record
Covid-19 daily infections swell 12% to new record
Israeli politician: We find Azerbaijan a good friend of Israel
Israeli politician: We find Azerbaijan a good friend of Israel
Loading Bars
Latest
Gakharia: Georgia is a part of European civilization
Chinese mainland reports no new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases
American Airlines to get $5.5 bn loan from US Treasury
Togo's prime minister and government resign, presidency says
Brazil exceeds 140,000 deaths from COVID-19
124 illegal immigrants rescued off Libyan coast: UN
Seventeen more coronavirus patients die in Moscow in past day — crisis center
U.S. COVID-19 cases surpass 7 mln -- Johns Hopkins University
FAA chief set to conduct 737 MAX evaluation flight next week
UK pledges over $400 million for WHO, calls for end to 'ugly rifts'
Military plane crashes in Ukraine, killing 22
UAE reports 1,008 new COVID-19 cases, 89,540 in total
Turkmen textile company reveales production volume
Coronavirus cases pass half-million mark in France
Kazakhstan's export to Romania decreases amid COVID-19
TRT World aires documentary on devastating effects of Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict (VIDEO)
Inflow of Turkish labor migrants to France plunges to record low
Iran's trade with EU declines
Google to block election ads after November 3
Police officer shot dead at custody centre in London
Turkmen textile company talks impact of COVID-19 on exports
Level of dollarization on individuals' bank deposits in Azerbaijan increase
Georgia reveals volume of processed grapes as of Sept.25
Rise in COVID-19 cases in Turkey now under control, health minister assures
Azerbaijani president: According to our intelligence, very serious military training under way
President Ilham Aliyev: Armenia is preparing for war
President Ilham Aliyev: Region has not become a safer place, unfortunately, situation is deteriorating
US embassy in Azerbaijan urges to reconsider non-essential travel outside Absheron Peninsula
Global COVID-19 death toll could hit two million before vaccine in wide use: WHO
'Intellectual Field' to allow stabilize production level in Kazakhstan
Iran's auto giants to talk over hybrid vehicles production
Azerbaijani ministry discloses volume of toxic emissions from cars
Georgian expert: Armenian authorities controlling separatist regime in Karabakh crossed red line
Azerbaijani minister of economy reviews activity of industrial enterprises in Ganja (PHOTO)
Volume of maritime cargo transshipment from Portugal via Turkey disclosed
Tactical-special and combat training classes underway in Azerbaijan (PHOTO/VİDEO)
EBRD and FAO to assist Georgia in field of agro tourism
Uzbekistan to be supplied with Russian coronavirus vaccines
Uzbekistan, Tajikistan to maintain Uzbek energy and water resources balance
Azerbaijan’s Bakcell preparing discounts for teachers within project
UK study shows rapid test has diagnostic sensitivity over 99%
Kazakhstan's grain export volume revealed
Amazon hiring 150 employees in Israel
Baku Higher Oil School on top of grade ranking among universities in Azerbaijan
Mortgage lending via state line in Azerbaijan up
Russia leading exporter of polymer products to Turkmenistan
Volume of deposits up in Georgia
September occupancies up in Georgian regional hotels
Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan strengthening co-op in medical tourism
Rates of dollarization on loans and deposits up in Georgia
Volume of deposits in Azerbaijan grows
Russia increases exports of frozen vegetables to Turkmenistan
Bakcell talks about network congestion and secure internet
Azerbaijani banks increase lending to clients
Iranian government is modernizing agriculture in Tehran Province
Italy lowers import of Turkish cars
Loans and deposits, expressed as percentage of GDP, increase in Georgia
Netherlands increase export volume to Kazakhstan year-on-year
Georgian hazelnuts exports up
Azerbaijan's Anglo Asian Mining reveals 1H2020 income
Several industrial projects to be implemented in Kazakhstan's Almaty
Azerbaijan's Azexport portal to place insurance services
Sooner Armenia withdraws its armed forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, sooner the conflict will be resolved (PHOTO)
Moscow reports 1,560 new coronavirus cases, highest since June 12
Azerbaijani schoolchildren perform successfully at 32nd International Olympiad in Informatics (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan confirms 137 more COVID-19 recoveries
ADB: Developed capital markets enhance financial stability in Azerbaijan
Covid-19 daily infections swell 12% to new record
Energy efficiency to be increased at Uzbek manufacturing enterprises
Shell books tanker to load crude at Libya's Zueitina oil port
Turkmenistan’s Oil Refineries extends tender for gasoline purchase
Kazakhstan's QazTech Ventures to fund Uzbek startups
Gas exports from Azerbaijan to Turkey significantly up
VTB Bank, Entrepreneurship Development Fund of Azerbaijan issuing loans to businesses
Azerbaijani FM receives ambassador of Greece
Vietnam interested in import of Azerbaijani products
EU working with Georgian partners to strengthen cybersecurity in country
Azerbaijani ministry talks introduction of contactless payment in public transport in districts
Central Bank of Azerbaijan to hold deposit auction
Azerbaijan discloses data on tobacco exports for 2019
BP: Oil demand to remain central part of energy system for next 10–15 years
Azerbaijani MP: Armenia resettling terrorists to Nagorno-Karabakh region, facts prove ASALA's presence
Apple says has always abided by Irish law as EU appeals court ruling
Precious metal prices in Azerbaijan up again after decline
Iran assigns housing units to low income
Money supply increased in Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan to export fuel diesel to Pakistan
Georgia reveals volume of premiums attracted by insurance companies
UN highlights Azerbaijani president’s speech at 75th session of UN General Assembly
Kazakhstan's largest oil pipeline company to buy power stations via tender
LNG demand to double over next 20 years
Volume of gas production by Turkmenistan’s Lebapgazchykarysh revealed
Expert talks putting Azerbaijan's domestic tourism back on its feet
Deputy FM: Rejecting proposals to resolve conflict, Armenian leadership makes negotiations meaningless
Road in border village of Azerbaijan’s Gazakh district being overhauled (PHOTO)
Israeli politician: We find Azerbaijan a good friend of Israel
Around 6,000 people internationally wanted by Russia
Buffett-following investment trust to list in London
EU Special Representative: EU has strong interest in peace, stability in South Caucasus
Georgia reports 265 new cases of coronavirus
All news