ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN - Authorities in northern Afghanistan say Islamic State terrorists have killed at least six local employees of theInternational Committee of the Red Cross.
Jowzjan province government spokesman Reza Ghafoori told VOA Wednesday’s attack occurred in the Qushtipa district and the assailants also took away two ICRC workers.
The ICRC said that the team, composed of three drivers and five field officers, was on its way to deliver much-needed livestock materials in an area south of the town of Shibergan when they were ambushed.
"This is a despicable act. Nothing can justify the murder of our colleagues and dear friends,” said the head of the ICRC delegation in Afghanistan, Monica Zanarelli. She added that it would be premature to for the charity to determine the impact of the "appalling incident" on its operations in Afghanistan
"We condemn in the strongest possible terms what appears to be a deliberate attack on our staff. This is a huge tragedy. We're in shock," said the president of the ICRC, Peter Maurer.
Amnesty International called the attack "a horrific crime"
The Taliban has denied involvement in the incident, saying attacking ICRC is a crime. “We will find and punish the offenders,” a spokesman added.
IS has also claimed responsibly for Tuesday's suicide bombing in Kabul and identified the bomber as Tajik. The attack killed at least 22 people and wounded 40 others in Kabul.
Most of the victims Tuesday were employees of the Afghan Supreme Court. Female judges and prosecutors were among those killed and wounded.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA, Wednesday condemned the suicide attack outside the court building as “nothing short of an atrocity” and called for those responsible must be brought to justice.
“Since the beginning of 2015 alone, UNAMA has documented 74 attacks targeting judges, prosecutors and judicial staff, which have resulted in 89 dead and 214 injured,” according the mission's statement issued in Kabul.
IS has been trying to establish a foothold in Afghanistan and has stepped attacks around the country, mainly targeting the Shi'ite Muslim minority community.
The number of civilian casualties caused by IS terrorists in Afghanistan increased nearly 10 times in 2016 compared to the previous year, according to a UNAMA report released earlier this week. It said that more than 200 people were killed and 700 wounded in comparison to 39 deaths and 43 injured in 2015.