The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) condemns yesterday’s attack in Jalalabad that killed at least 19 civilians, and expresses its concern about a recent spate of incidents in which civilians have been killed in attacks on schools and medical centres.
According to a statement released by UNAMA, the majority of those killed in Jalalabad, when a suicide bomber detonated his improvised explosive device, belong to Afghanistan’s small Sikh and Hindu community and were part of a delegation on its way to meet President Ashraf Ghani who was visiting the capital city of Nangahar province. More than 20 others, including children, were injured in the blast.
“The architects of this appalling crime must be brought to justice,” said Ingrid Hayden, the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan.
UNAMA also added that elsewhere in Nangahar, in the Khogyani district, three civilian night watchmen were killed, at least two of them beheaded, and a school torched on Saturday in the latest instance of an Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) campaign against schools and educational workers. Today, one of several missiles fired in to Jalalabad hit the Najmuljihad high school with other projectiles landing nearby. There were no reports of casualties.
“UNAMA is also concerned by recent incidents impacting health facilities; on 25 June a mortar hit the Andar district hospital in Ghazni province killing a doctor and a vaccination worker, and on 1 July, in the northern province of Faryab, three civilians, including a woman and child, were killed and several other civilians, mainly women and children, were injured in an Afghan National Army helicopter attack in the Pashtun Kot district. The attack allegedly targeted Taliban combatants at a health clinic where civilian patients were also receiving treatment,” the statement added.
The United Nations stresses that all parties to the conflict must at all times uphold their obligations to protect civilians and reiterates its call to immediately cease targeting civilians and civilian objects, including schools and health facilities, in compliance with international humanitarian law, UNAMA said, adding that the United Nations in Afghanistan expresses its condolences to the loved ones of those killed and wishes a full and speedy recovery to the injured.