JALALABAD – An ISIS extremist group has claimed responsibility for an attack on the offices of Save the Children in Jalalabad on Wednesday, January 24.
The humanitarian aid organization that services nearly 1.4 million children in Afghanistan has temporarily suspended most of its operations in all of its 16 Afghan provincial offices in the interest of securing the safety of the entire staff.
Although Save the Children condemned the attack “in the strongest possible terms,” company officials were unwilling to confirm the ISIS claim until investigations into the nature of and motive for the attack have been confirmed by the authorities.
Afghanistan’s TOLO News reported the attacks began at about 9:00 am. A gunfight between the attackers and Afghan security forces continued for 10 hours whilst more than 40 Save the Children employees secured themselves in a safe room. The entire office staff are Afghan nationals.
A local shopkeeper and an Afghan soldier were also killed in the melee. At least 25 people were injured.
The incident came only days after an attack on the Hotel Intercontinental in Kabul.
The Red Cross downsized its operations in Afghanistan following attacks in which seven of its staff were killed.
During the past year, 17 aid workers in Afghanistan were killed. Another 32 were injured in attacks. According to Reuters, the Aid Worker Security Database estimates that 115 aid workers were killed around the globe in 2017.
Save the Children will continue to provide critical health care services, food, and education until full operations are resumed.
A spokesman for the organization said, “Incidents like this have a direct impact on the children and communities we work to protect and, yesterday, programs across the country were brought to a halt. Our humanitarian staff remain dedicated to resuming operations, and have already taken first steps to do so, carrying out critical safety and security assessments across the areas we work.’
Save the Children comprises Save the Children International and 30 other member organizations working to deliver change for children in around 120 countries.
National Public Radio, How Save The Children Is Coping After Attack That Killed 4 Staffers In Afghanistan
Save the Children, Afghanistan: Attack on Save the Children Compound
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