THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

UN warns its staffers after attacks

By Noor Khan
Associated Press / April 27, 2010

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KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — A wave of violence sweeping the southern city of Kandahar has forced the United Nations to tell more than 200 of its Afghan employees to stay home, a UN official said yesterday. Several foreign UN employees were temporarily moved to Kabul.

The announcement came hours after three bombings — one aimed at a top police official — shook the city and left two civilians dead.

UN spokesman Dan McNorton insisted the world body is not pulling out of Kandahar, but he declined to say how many employees would still work in the troubled city.

Afghans working for the United Nations and other foreign organizations are frequently targeted by militants as well.

“There is always a balance to be struck to ensure the safety of our staff and ensure that we can deliver our programs and humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan,’’ McNorton said.

The UN has been on the defensive in Afghanistan since last October, when three suicide attackers stormed a Kabul guest house where dozens of staffers lived, killing five UN employees and three Afghans. The three assailants died during the siege.

UN officials said yesterday that an inside investigation has found that four of the five staff members may have died because of friendly fire from Afghan security forces. A final report by a four-member outside panel suggested that the four were mistaken for Taliban insurgents during the Oct. 28 episode.

Also yesterday, a NATO airstrike killed the Taliban “shadow governor’’ of Kunduz province, Mullah Yar Mohammed, also known as Noor Mohammed, as he was traveling in a vehicle with three advisers north of Kunduz city, provincial spokesman Mabobullah Sayedi said.