Attacks on Aid Workers Continue in Afghanistan

Eleven Afghans connected to a USAID-funded project have been killed this week in two separate attacks as violence against humanitarian aid workers is escalating daily. Five Afghans working for the US company Chemonics International were killed Wednesday in Helmud Province, according to the Associated Press. Within just 24 hours, six more Afghans with connections to Chemonics International were killed in the southern province of Kabul by suspected Taliban militants, AP reports.

Chemonics International is working in Afghanistan on irrigation projects focused on providing alternative crops for farmers who are growing poppies. A spokeswoman for the company said that they are “assessing the situation” to determine if they will continue their work in Afghanistan, according to BBC News.

Meanwhile, a man who claims to have kidnapped an Italian CARE International employee earlier this week is now saying that he killed her, but Afghan officials deny the claim, according to Reuters.

A report released this month by the Afghanistan NGO Safety Office (ANSO) and CARE raises serious concerns about staff working in the field in Afghanistan. According to the report, “NGO Insecurity in Afghanistan,” “the unprecedented number” of fatalities among workers for non-governmental organizations providing humanitarian assistance is impacting their ability to reach those who need assistance. The report concludes that “NGO insecurity is linked to wider, prevalent insecurity across Afghanistan. Unless and until this wider insecurity is addressed, NGO staff will continue to be a target, making it difficult to reach all those in need.”

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BBC News 5/19/05; Associated Press 5/19/05; Reuters 5/20/05; Feminist Daily News Wire, May 17, 2005

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