The killing of six employees of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in northern Afghanistan is a horrific crime, Amnesty International said today.
“By targeting the ICRC, who devote their lives to helping people in desperate need, the perpetrators have demonstrated a horrific contempt for human life,” said Biraj Patnaik, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.
The killings in the northern Jowzjan province come a day after a suicide bomber killed more than 20 people at the entrance of Afghanistan’s Supreme Court in Kabul.
Afghanistan is currently reeling from a series of attacks on civilians, including the murder of four women in Herat and Badakhshan provinces over the past week.
In Herat, the killers left behind a note saying, “This is the punishment for prostitutes.”
No one has yet claimed responsibility for today’s attack, the bombing of the Supreme Court, or the killings of the ICRC staff.
The deaths of the ICRC employees mark the latest in an escalating wave of violence. According to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, 3,498 people were killed and 7,920 people injured in 2016 – marking the highest number of civilian casualties since the UN began documenting statistics in Afghanistan.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the families of the people killed in this and other attacks on civilians, as well as to our colleagues at the International Committee of the Red Cross on this incredibly sad day,” said Biraj Patnaik.
“The Afghan authorities must immediately investigate these civilian deaths and bring the perpetrators to justice. They have a responsibility to deliver justice. The war in Afghanistan is not winding down, but tragically escalating with consequences for human rights that should alarm us all.”