Security Situation Continues to Worsen in Afghanistan

Four Afghan civilians, including two children, were killed by a roadside bomb aimed at the international peacekeeping force (ISAF) in Afghanistan this week.

According to IRIN News, the security situation is not improving as Afghanistan moves closer to the elections that are scheduled to occur in September. According to the acting chief of public information for the NATO-led peacekeeping force, “the security situation is far from being stable. It is deteriorating,” reports IRIN News. Earlier this week the head of Afghanistan refugee department was shot dead in Kandahar outside of his home. Since the beginning of June, 11 Chinese construction road workers were shot dead and five medical relief workers with Doctors Without Borders (three European and two Afghan) were killed. Doctors Without Borders, which has been working in Afghanistan since 1979, has since pulled all of its staff out of the country because of the lack of security.

These murders are the latest in a string of deadly attacks on relief workers, government employees and private contractors in a Taliban-led crusade to derail democratic elections. ISAF asserts that the attacks were conducted by “those who do not like this country to be stable,” reports IRIN News. According to Reuters, while NATO is planning on expanding its force into the northern provinces of Balkh and Faryab, it is not planning on going to the southern and eastern areas where the militants are the most active.

Already the elections that were to take place in June have been postponed until September due to the lack of security. Earlier this week, President Karzai called on NATO to expand its peacekeeping presence in Afghanistan before the elections in September. Despite the dire security situation, peacekeeping forces in Afghanistan remain a small contingent of some 6,500 soldiers.

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Reuters 6/16/04; IRIN News 6/16/04; BBC News 6/16/04; The Associated Press 6/15/04

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