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Red Cross to Pull Some Afghan Staff

The Red Cross says it plans to pull some of its international staff out of Afghanistan as a result of a recent attack on its office in the eastern city of Jalalabad.

The International Committee of the Red Cross began work in Afghanistan more than 25 years ago, and this was the first time one of its offices had been attacked.

There is no word on how many staff members will be withdrawn, but a Red Cross spokesman said the organization will continue to provide orthopedic services, support a hospital in Kandahar and facilitate contacts between detainees and their families.



"We are concerned that if we do not take out some people we are very much vulnerable and exposed. Especially because we work with the armed opposition, different groups, and we talk to them about our work and activities. ... We are also surprised that this attack has taken place."



The aid group has 1,800 employees in Afghanistan who work on projects such as treating war wounded and providing prosthetics.



Last Wednesday, a suicide bomber and several gunmen launched an assault on the ICRC office in Jalalabad, killing a security guard and injuring several others.

The Taliban has denied involvement in the attack.

Meanwhile, officials in western Afghanistan report a father and his three children died when their car hit a roadside bomb and exploded. The mother was wounded in Tuesday's blast.

The United Nations says violence in Afghanistan is up 24 percent, compared to this time last year. The U.N. estimates insurgents are to blame for 84 percent of the deaths.

In eastern Afghanistan Monday, seven people died in Laghman province when their vehicle struck a land mine. In another incident in the east , a suicide bomber targeting a U.S. military convoy near the border with Pakistan killed 10 school children, one Afghan police officer and two coalition service members. Local authorities say the bomber was riding a motorcycle.

The Taliban have repeatedly said they do not target civilians in their battle against the Afghan government and foreign troops, but their attacks often kill non-combatants.

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