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UN Worker Killed in Afghanistan - 2003-11-16

The United Nations says a French U.N. worker who was shot by gunmen in southeastern Afghanistan later died of her wounds.

The two attackers reportedly rode up to the woman's vehicle on a motorcycle, with the man on the back opening fire.

The incident took place after midday in middle of a business district in the southeastern Afghan town of Ghazni.

Maki Shinohara, a spokeswoman for the U.N. refugee agency, says the victim was Bettina Goislard, a 29-year-old French citizen working with the agency.

Ms. Goislard's driver and an agency field worker, both Afghan nationals, were also in the car at the time. The driver sustained injuries in the attack while the field worker was unharmed.

Ms. Shinohara says a shopkeeper who witnessed the attack was able to subdue the assailants with the help of other passers-by.

"The townspeople immediately noticed that, and the shopkeeper basically took hold of the two men," she said.

The suspected attackers are now in custody and being questioned by police.

Ms. Shinohara says that while the motive for the attack has yet to be determined, the attackers evidently knew their victim was a U.N. worker.

"They were in a clearly marked vehicle in the center of the city," explained Ms. Shinohara. "The shots came from the passenger side where she was sitting."

She says the United Nations has ordered another foreign U.N. worker in the same province to leave temporarily.

The town of Ghazni is located in an area of Afghanistan plagued by militant attacks on Afghan and foreign targets.

The majority of such assaults are blamed on insurgents loyal to the country's former hardline Taleban regime, as well as members of the al-Qaida terror network.