The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is putting its aid activities across Afghanistan "on hold" following the attack of one of their convoy in which six Afghan staff were killed and after which two staff remain unaccounted for, a senior ICRC official said on Wednesday (February 8).
"For the time being, we decided to put on hold all our operations in the whole country because we also need and want to mark what is a horrible incident, which came as a huge shock for all our staff, first and foremost in Afghanistan, but also to respect the families. We have six of our colleagues that were killed, our thoughts are very much with the families. We are mourning with the families, and at the same time, focusing on establishing the whereabouts of the two Afghan colleagues that are still unaccounted for," ICRC's director of global operations Dominik Stillhart told Reuters TV in Geneva.
As areas in the north of the country are being hit by deadly snow storms, an ICRC convoy was carrying supplies there when they were attacked.
"We are all outraged about what seems to be a targeted attack against a clearly marked ICRC convoy, in addition traveling on a road that we have been using regularly, in an area we are well acquainted with and the team was about to bring much needed livestock assistance to communities in the south of Mazar," Stillhart said.
The Jowzjan provincial governor, Lotfullah Azizi, told Reuters Islamic State gunmen were suspected to have carried the attack.
According to the Jowzjan police chief, the workers' bodies have been brought to the provincial capital and a search operation launched to find the two missing ICRC employees.