Saturday, April 2, 2011

There are 27 people arrested for attack on UN in Afghanistan

.- Afghan Protesters angered by the burning of the Koran by a preacher in the United States invaded a UN compound on Friday, killing at least seven foreign workers in the deadliest attack against the body in the country. Thousands of protesters took to the streets after Friday prayers and headed the UN mission in the usually peaceful Mazar-i-Sharif, a city considered safe enough to be at the forefront of the key security transition.

The governor of Balkh province said that insurgents had used the march as cover to attack the UN compound, in a battle that lasted several hours and raises serious doubts about plans to turn the city into a model for transfer security to Afghan forces. The confirmed dead are three foreign UN employees and four international Gurkha guards.

The Romanian Foreign Ministry said preliminary information suggested that a citizen of that country were among the dead. The Mission of Norway to the UN confirmed that a Norwegian had died and Sweden reported that one of its nationals was killed in the attack. In New York, the head of the peacekeeping Alain Le Roy told reporters after informing the Security Council members who were called to an emergency session to discuss the attack, which some of the protesters appeared to be more than that.

"Some of them were clearly armed," said Le Roy, adding that it appeared that were aimed at foreigners in the complex. "We're not sure at all that the UN was the target. Maybe they wanted a UN international white was the one in Mazar-i-Sharif," said Le Roy, adding that an investigation was underway into the incident.

The attackers beat the guards, burned parts of the complex and climbed walls of protection to topple a tower. Five demonstrators were killed and 20 injured, some after trying to remove guns from security guards. "The insurgents used the situation to attack the UN compound," said Governor Ata Mohammad Noor.

In a news conference, adding that many of the protesters were armed. Some 27 people were arrested in connection with the attack, he said. Le Roy said Vijay Nambiar, chief of staff to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and the agency's security director Gregory Starr were en route to Kabul on Friday night.

He added that the UN security in Afghanistan will be reviewed. Ban and the Security Council condemned the attack. The attack was one of the worst against the UN for years. "This is the worst incident against UN staff in Afghanistan. Mazar gangs were active in the 1990's, repeatedly looting UN offices (...) but as far as I remember never killed anybody," said Reuters a former employee of the agency in Afghanistan.

The previous worst attack was an assault by insurgents against a guesthouse in Kabul where they were staying UN staff in October 2009. Five employees were killed and nine others were wounded. The attack on the UN seems to have been motivated by Terry Jones, an obscure American pastor, according to its website on Sunday burned a Koran in front of fifty people in his parish of the state of Florida.

Jones had threatened to burn the Koran last year, but suspended its plans amid strong international condemnation. The pastor told the BBC he was not guilty of the killings in Mazar. "We are not responsible for their actions," said Jones when asked about the attack. Thousands of protesters also in the western city of Herat and 200 in Kabul, but there was no violence either.

Afghan police and army, which the UN hopes its first line of defense apparently could not control the crowd. The NATO-led coalition said that German soldiers responded to a call for help, but it was unclear when the call was made or has been answered. UN officials in New York had said earlier that up to 20 agency workers have died.

Then explained that the figure had included demonstrators who turned out to be Afghans. An Afghan police spokesman said two UN employees were beheaded. Le Roy said no one was beheaded, but one of the victims before cutting his throat. The head of mission in Mazar-i-Sharif, the Russian Pavel Yershov, was wounded in the attack and was admitted to a hospital, said his country's Foreign Ministry.

Russia asked the Afghan government and international forces to "take all necessary measures" to protect UN workers. U.S. President Barack Obama, his counterpart Hamid Karzai and NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, also condemned the attack.

No comments:

Post a Comment