Tearfund backs out of Kandahar after threat to staff rises

Aid charity Tearfund has suspended operations in the Kandahar region of Afghanistan because of mounting insecurity.

A team of 45 had been working in 28 villages within a 70km radius of the former Taliban stronghold of Kandahar city, where the charity had an office.

But an upsurge of attacks in the city has prevented staff from reaching project sites. Last month 13 people were killed in bombings.

Nigel Timmins, Tearfund's operations manager for Afghanistan said: "The area is now too insecure for us to continue our work.

"But we hope to return to Kandahar as soon as the security situation allows."

In the past nine months, 13 aid workers have been killed in southern and eastern Afghanistan.

The US Government has warned that aid agency staff in the country are under threat from anti-western groups. A State Department warning noted "an ongoing threat to kidnap and assassinate" NGO workers.

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