Afghanistan

The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan condemns armed attack on school consultants

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Peshawar, 2 March, 2003 - On Saturday 1 March an SCA Toyota pickup was attacked in Tangi, Wardak province, between Ghazni and Kabul. Armed men fired several shots at the vehicle, which was carrying equipment for a teachers training course, two SCA school consultants and a driver. No person was injured in the attack, which is believed to have been specifically targeted at foreigners and NGO property. Although there were valuables in the car, the attackers took nothing. Instead they ordered the school consultants to leave the car and drove to a remote area were they attempted to burn the vehicle.
This attack is utterly despicable and unacceptable. It is the second time in 21 years that SCA staff has been attacked, but we cannot tolerate one such incident! It hampers our work in the field and threatens our teachers training programme, a crucial step in our efforts to improve education in Afghanistan, says Peter Bulling, acting Country Director of SCA.

The incident resembles an attack a few days earlier on a WFP car in Wazakhawa, Paktika province. UNHCR reports that on February 27 armed men fired at the WFP vehicle but stopped shooting when they discovered that there were no foreigners in the vehicle.

Lars Grebius, regional director for SCA activities in the southern provinces, says he has decided to cancel planned visits to Paktia and Paktika following the attacks.

The Swedish Committee condemns these acts and calls for a thorough investigation into the events. We are deeply concerned for the safety of our staff and fear that we may be forced to downscale activities in the area. The regional director has been recalled to Kabul for further consultations. Once again, we appeal to the international community to expand its presence outside the capital in order to improve security in the rural areas and to prevent similar attacks from taking place in the future, says Peter Bulling, acting Country Director.