The United Nations says the recent violent deaths of nine aid workers in Afghanistan highlights the growing risks surrounding aid delivery and an increased disrespect for humanitarian personnel in the country.
Mark Bowden, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Afghanistan, says he is "extremely concerned" about the rise in violence, which comes as NATO coalition forces prepare to withdraw from the country next year.
In a Saturday statement, Bowden says the violence is taking place at a time when Afghanistan is in a "difficult transition" that could lead to increased humanitarian needs.
The U.N. says it has recorded 237 incidences against humanitarian workers, facilities and assets in Afghanistan this year, including 36 deaths.
On Wednesday, suspected Taliban gunmen killed six aid workers in the northern Faryab province. An explosive device killed three aid workers in the southern Uruzgan province the previous day.
An October report from the Aid Worker Security Database identified Afghanistan as the most dangerous country for these workers.
The database is compiled by Humanitarian Outcomes, a consulting team that provides data and policy advice to aid groups and donor governments.
Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.