The International Committee of the Red Cross has temporarily suspended its operations in Afghanistan after six of its aid workers were killed by suspected Islamic State militants on Wednesday. The organisation’s spokesperson Thomas Glass said two other employees were missing, though he did not blame any group for the attack, Al Jazeera reported. The principal governor of the Jowzjan province Lotfullah Azizi said the workers were shot dead in the Qush Tepa area.
The organisation said they made the decision to stop their work as they need to “understand more clearly what happened”. “But... this is one of the most critical humanitarian contexts and we will definitely do everything to continue our operations there,” the Director of Operations Dominik Stillhart said, according to the BBC.
Azizi said the workers involved were carrying supplies to avalanche-hit areas in a part of the country where “Daesh [an alternative name for the militant group] is very active”. Their bodies have been brought back and a search operation has been launched for the two aid workers who have yet to be found.
The organisation’s president Peter Maurer had tweeted, “Devastated by this news out of Afghanistan. My deepest condolences to the families of those killed – and those still unaccounted for.”