Murder of charity staff 'will not influence Afghanistan aid work'

British charities working in Afghanistan say they have no immediate plans to change the way they work in the country, despite the murder of three female aid workers and their driver there earlier this week.

The women, who were working for the International Rescue Committee, were ambushed and shot by Taliban militants alongside their Afghan driver. A Taliban spokesman described them as foreign spies.

The dead included British and Canadian citizen Jacqueline Kirk, a research fellow at the University of Ulster's International Conflict Research centre. The International Rescue Committee responded by suspending all of its aid programmes in Afghanistan, but other agencies have not followed suit.

Richard Miller, director of ActionAid UK, said his organisation fully intended to continue its work in Afghanistan and would keep its security policies under review.

He said ActionAid had lost two women staff two years ago in Afghanistan and called on all sides in the conflict to draw a clear line between military and humanitarian operations. "What is particularly worrying now is that as the humanitarian situation deteriorates, the space in which agencies operate is declining," he said. "More aid workers have been killed this year than in the whole of last year."

A spokeswoman for Save the Children said the charity did not operate in the province where the IRC workers had been killed. She said it would be monitoring the situation, talking to other NGOs, and making sure staff followed agreed procedures such as avoiding travel by road unless absolutely necessary.

Pete Sweetnam, director of programmes at Merlin, said the charity was taking the attack "very seriously". He said: "At this point, we are continuing our activities, but we will keep a close watching brief on the situation."

Topics:
Management

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