UN Evacuates Foreign Staff Ahead of Afghan Election

Posters of candidates for local elections in Afghanistan. The United Nations has evacuated some of its foreign staff out of the country amidst fears of election violence. Photo by: Mike Connolly / CC BY NC Mike ConnollyCC BY NC

The U.N. has evacuated some 300 foreign staff out of Afghanistan amidst fears that the country’s weekend parliamentary elections will usher in violence and fraud.

The evacuated staff, which represent about a third of the organization’s permanent international workforce in Afghanistan, are expected to stay out of the country for at least a week. Staff who will remain in Afghanistan will be subject to tight security measures that include a ban on travel around Kabul, the Guardian reports.

“It would be naive not to take these precautions as we are a target,” Staffan de Mistura, head of the UN mission in Afghanistan, was quoted as saying. “We are going to be particularly careful as the Taliban have announced they will attack anyone involved in this election and we are very much involved.”

Five U.N. staff were killed in 2009 when a Kabul guesthouse accommodating election workers was attacked after the first round of voting in last year’s elections.

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  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.