Hamid Karzai and UN condemn killing of civilians by Taliban in Afghanistan

 

Insurgents shot and killed 12 civilians in two separate incidents over the weekend, including six aid workers employed on government projects, officials said Tuesday.

The bodies of six victims were found in the Gulran district of western Herat province, said Jamel Danish, media adviser for the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation.

Five were Afghan employees of the International Rescue Committee who had been kidnapped on Sunday, and the US-based group said it was temporarily suspending operations. It has worked in Afghanistan since 1988. The sixth victim worked for the ministry.

“The IRC is devastated and grief-stricken by the deaths of our colleagues who were all working to make a better Afghanistan,” IRC president George Rupp said in a statement.

President Hamid Karzai and the United Nations office in Afghanistan also condemned the killings, which the UN said could be classified as a war crime. The Taliban regularly target government employees.

Danish said the six were kidnapped by the Taliban and killed after negotiations to free them failed. His ministry with help from international groups seeks to improve the lives of Afghans in remote parts of the country.

Rohullah Samon, spokesman for eastern Paktia province, said six unidentified civilians were also found Tuesday by a roadside. He had no other details.

In Kabul, a suicide bomber riding a bicycle was killed when his explosive went off prematurely, wounding a passerby, said Kabul deputy police chief Gen Mohammad Daoud Amin. He said it was unclear what the intended target of the bomber was in the area of downtown Kabul where the explosion took place.

Violence in Afghanistan has increased in recent months as insurgents fight to regain territory, trying to take advantage of the handover of the country's security from the NATO-led coalition to Afghan forces ahead of the withdrawal of all foreign combat forces at the end of 2014.

Civilian casualties have spiked this spring and summer. The UN said in its mid-year report that casualties were up 23 percent compared to the first six months of 2012.

AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer and Markets Development Executive

£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...

Recruitment Genius: Guest Services Assistant

£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager

£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory