|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Secretary-General Orders Review of Findings by Inquiry into Kabul Attack,
as Report Highlights ‘Shortcomings’ in Joint Security Measures
The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:
The Secretary-General has received the final report of the Board of Inquiry into the 28 October 2009 terrorist attack on the Bakhtar guest house in Kabul, where 34 United Nations staff were residing. The four-member Board of Inquiry, set up in December 2009, was led by Andrew Hughes, a former senior Australian Federal Police official and former United Nations Police Adviser. It began its work in February 2010 and travelled to Kabul the same month. Its report was submitted to the Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Field Support on 21 April 2010. The relevant findings of the report have been shared with the Afghan authorities and other relevant stakeholders have also been informed.
The report details the tragic incident in which three Afghan security personnel and five United Nations staff members lost their lives and several others were injured. The United Nations mourns the loss of these brave individuals who died in the service of peace.
The report describes the confused situation at the Bakhtar guest house, with the attackers and responding security personnel both dressed in Afghan police uniforms and a fire raging through the compound. The report suggests the possibility that a United Nations staff member, Close Protection Officer Louis Maxwell, may have been killed by Afghan security forces who may have mistaken him for an insurgent. Mr. Maxwell died protecting his United Nations colleagues, many of whom are alive today because of his heroic actions. The report was not able to determine who fired the shots that killed the three other United Nations staff members, though it leaves open the possibility that they also may have been killed by friendly fire. The report highlights a number of shortcomings in the United Nations security measures as well as with respect to coordination between the United Nations and both its international partners and the host Government authorities.
In light of the seriousness of the matter, the Secretary-General has instructed that the Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security, Gregory Starr, review the security findings highlighted in the report. He will lead a team to Kabul next week, to discuss next steps and follow-up with the Afghan authorities. The Secretary-General has also instructed Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy and Special Representative Staffan de Mistura to contact relevant North Atlantic Treaty Organization officials in Brussels and Kabul for further consultations on how best to ensure improved coordination in the event of future emergencies of this nature.
The Secretary-General reiterates the United Nations commitment to transparency and the strengthening of security for its personnel serving in dangerous locations. He calls on the Afghan authorities to ensure a thorough investigation into the attack on the guest house and the killing of United Nations staff. He pledges the United Nations continued dedicated work to assist the Afghan Government and the Afghan people to move the peace process forward in Afghanistan.
* *** *