6 Afghan Red Cross workers killed by suspected Daesh

ICRC puts its aid operations across Afghanistan "on hold" after the attack. The ICRC employees were slain while they were carrying supplies to avalanche-hit areas in the north of Afghanistan.

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Men carry the coffin of a relative who died in a suicide attack on the Supreme Court in Kabul, Afghanistan, on February 7, 2017.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has suspended its activities across Afghanistan after suspected Daesh gunmen killed at least six of its Afghan staff members in an attack on Wednesday. 

The employees of the Red Cross were targeted as they carried supplies in Jowzjan province in northern Afghanistan to areas hit by deadly snow storms, government officials said.

Another two employees were unaccounted for after the attack, ICRC spokesman Thomas Glass said, but the aid group said it did not know who was responsible.

Dominik Stillhart, ICRC director of operations worldwide, said: "As we speak, our operations are on hold indeed, because we need to understand what exactly happened before we can hopefully resume our operations."

TRT World's Bilal Sarwary reports on the volatile situation in the country.

An unstable situation

Jawzjan police chief Rahmatullah Turkistani said the workers' bodies had been brought to the provincial capital and a search operation launched to find the two missing ICRC employees. 

The aid workers were in a convoy carrying supplies to areas hit by avalanches when they were attacked by suspected Daesh gunmen, Jowzjan provincial governor Lotfullah Azizi said.

"Daesh is very active in that area," he added.

Daesh has made limited inroads in Afghanistan but has carried out increasingly deadly attacks.

It claimed responsibility on Wednesday for a suicide blast in Kabul that targeted Afghanistan's Supreme Court, killing at least 22 people.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said his group was not involved in the attack and promised that Taliban members would "put all their efforts into finding the perpetrators."

In a recent summary of its work in Afghanistan last year, the ICRC said increasing insecurity had made it difficult to provide aid to many parts of the country.

TRTWorld and agencies