Afghanistan: UN envoy reinstates Mazar-i-Sharif offices attacked in April

Special Representative Staffan de Mistura (right) is greeted by Governor Ata Mohammad Noor

28 July 2011 – The United Nations envoy for Afghanistan today reinstated the UN offices in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif where three foreign staff and four international security guards were slain in an attack in April.

In his first visit to Mazar-i-Sharif since the attack on 1 April, Staffan de Mistura, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Afghanistan, pledged that the UN will intensify its activities there.

Mr. de Mistura met with the Governor of Balkh province, Ata Mohammad Noor, who reiterated his condolences to the families of those killed in the attack and gave his assurances that the UN offices will be better protected in the future.

“The United Nations will remain here, the UN has been in Afghanistan for decades,” said Mr. de Mistura. He also met with members of the Provincial Committee of the High Peace Council, the leadership of the Provincial Reconstruction Teams and UN staff.

At the UN compound, Mr. de Mistura assured a Gurkha guard that new measures had been introduced to “better protect the protectors.”

The three staff members killed were Joakim Dungel, a human rights officer from Sweden; Filaret Motco, a political affairs officer from Romania; and Lieutenant Colonel Siri Skare, a military adviser from Norway.

The four Nepalese Gurkhas who were guarding the UN centre and were also killed were Dil Prasad Gurung, Chhabi Lal Purja Pun, Narayan Bahadur Thapa Magar and Min Bahadur Thapa.

“We are grateful for their sacrifice,” said Mr de Mistura, stressing that joint investigations with the Afghan authorities are ongoing to bring to justice the five or six killers who carried out the attack when a crowd of around 3,000 people were protesting against the burning of a Koran in the United States.


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