In Tragic Day, 5 Aid Workers Dead in Afghanistan

An Afghan policeman at the entrance of a suspected Taliban hideout. Photo by: Talk Radio News Service / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Talk Radio News ServiceCC BY-NC-SA 2.0

At least five people were killed July 2 when six suicide bombers attacked the compound housing the office of DAI, an American contractor and implementing partner of the U.S. Agency for International Development in Kunduz City, northern Afghanistan.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, The New York Times reports. Two of the suspects detonated explosives at the entrance of the DAI compound and inside the office premises. Authorities later recovered the bodies of five suicide bombers.

Three of the dead were from the U.K., Germany and the Philippines, according to Gen. Murad Ali Murad, commander for the Afghan National Army. About 20 locals and policemen have been wounded, Agence France-Presse reports.

DAI, one of USAID’s implementing partners, opened its Kunduz office four months ago. DAI Afghanistan has been implementing USAID’s Local Governance and Community Development Project since 2006.

This is the latest in a growing number of attacks on aid and development workers in Afghanistan, particularly in the southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar.

In April 2010, an 18-year-old female DAI employee was killed in Kandahar and, in October 2009, 11 people died, including five U.N. workers, when three gunmen stormed a guest house in Kabul.

USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah issued a statement conveying his condolences to the victims’ families.

“Like our staff and others in the development community, these dedicated individuals worked day in and day out with the Government of Afghanistan, and our Afghan and international partners to tackle difficult and dangerous situations in order to help provide a better life for all Afghan people,” Shah’s statement read. “We strongly condemn this attack and will not tolerate such attempts at intimidation. This incident underscores the importance of the international community’s ongoing efforts to help bring about a stable and secure Afghanistan in partnership with the Afghan people.”

On behalf of the global community of aid and development workers, Devex President Raj Kumar also expressed condolences in an open letter, calling the incident a “tragic blow to aid and development workers everywhere.”

Eliza Villarino contributed to this report.

About the author

  • Chiden Balmes

    Chiden, a correspondent based in Seoul, focuses on computer-assisted reporting to provide international development professionals with practical business and career information. He also contributes to the Development Newswire and the Global Development Briefing, two of the world's highest-circulation development publications.