IOM Director General Condemns the Killings of ICRC Staff in Afghanistan

Humanitarian Emergencies

Switzerland - IOM’s Director General, William Lacy Swing, today condemned the attack in Afghanistan that left six staff members of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) dead and two unaccounted for.

“I unequivocally condemn the cowardly and murderous attack on our ICRC colleagues in Afghanistan, who were shot and killed while delivering humanitarian aid. It is an absolute and shocking tragedy that humanitarians should have their lives cruelly cut short, while they themselves are saving lives. With all of IOM staff, we stand beside our ICRC colleagues for whom we have such admiration.”

According to the ICRC, its team, which was composed of three drivers and five field officers, was on its way to deliver much-needed livestock materials in an area south of the town of Shibergan in Jawzan province and was attacked by unknown armed men.

“This is a despicable act. Nothing can justify the murder of our colleagues and dear friends,” said the head of the ICRC delegation in Afghanistan, Monica Zanarelli.  “At this point, it’s premature for us to determine the impact of this appalling incident on our operations in Afghanistan. We want to collect ourselves as a team and support each other in processing this incomprehensible act and finding our two unaccounted for colleagues," she continued.

The President of the ICRC, Peter Maurer, said in a statement: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms what appears to be a deliberate attack on our staff. This is a huge tragedy. We’re in shock.”

He added, “These staff members were simply doing their duty, selflessly trying to help and support the local community. Our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of our colleagues killed and those unaccounted for."

It is not yet clear who carried out the attack or why, the ICRC said.