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UN Security Council meets on deadly Afghan attack

Afghanistan, Quran, Security council, United Nations, World, New York , Alain Le Roy

United Nations: The UN Security Council was holding an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss a deadly attack on the UN compound in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif.

UN officials in New York said earlier as many as 20 UN staff may have been killed in the attack. But UN peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy told reporters on the way into the council meeting that the final UN death toll would likely be much lower. He said there were six confirmed dead at the moment, although that could rise to seven.

The UN officials said the earlier figure had included Afghans demonstrating against the burning of Islam's holy book, the Quran, by an obscure American pastor, not UN personnel.

UN Security Council meets on deadly Afghan attack

Le Roy was briefing the 15-nation council about the circumstances of the attack. Afterward, the council members were planning to issue a statement condemning the assault, UN diplomats said.

The confirmed dead included three international UN staff and three international Gurkha guards. Le Roy added that a fourth guard may also have been killed. No Afghan nationals working for the United Nations died in the attack, although five Afghan demonstrators were among the dead, Le Roy said.

Norway's UN mission said on its Twitter page that Norwegian Lieutenant Colonel Siri Skare, 53, was among those killed in Mazar-i-Sharif. Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt also posted a Twitter message that said a young Swedish man had been killed.

Le Roy said a Romanian was also among the dead.


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters in Nairobi that the attack was "outrageous and cowardly." US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said in a statement it was a "horrific and senseless attack."

The UN Staff Union, which represents UN employees worldwide, issued a statement expressing outrage at the attack.

"The Staff Union requests the Afghan authorities to investigate the incident, to take all possible measures to protect UN staff throughout the country and to prevent the re occurrence of such tragic events," the union said.

The deaths came after protesters demonstrating against the burning of the Koran over-ran the UN compound, police said.

An Afghan police spokesman said two of the dead were beheaded by attackers who also burned parts of the compound and climbed up blast walls to topple a guard tower. Le Roy said no one was beheaded, although one victim's throat was cut.

The worst previous attack on the United Nations in Afghanistan was an insurgent assault on a Kabul guest-house where UN staff were staying in October 2009. Five UN staffers were killed and nine others wounded.

In October 2010, several militants were killed when they attempted to ambush the UN compound in Herat dressed in burkas worn by women.

There have been other assaults on the world body in trouble spots in the Middle East and North Africa.

A bomb attack on the UN compound in Algiers in December 2007 killed 17 UN staff. The bombing of a hotel in Baghdad in August 2003 where the UN mission had its headquarters took the lives of at least 22 people, including the UN special envoy to Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello.

Read more at:http://ibnlive.in.com/news/un-security-council-meets-on-deadly-afghan-attack/148015-2.html

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