MSF condemns fatal attack on aid workers

The names of the MSF staff members, as well as their nationalities and functions are as follows:
Hélène de Beir: Belgian national, Project Coordinator
Willem Kwint: Dutch national, Logistician
Egil Tynaes: Norwegian national, Medical Doctor
Fasil Ahmad: Afghan national, Translator
Besmillah: Afghan national, Driver

Kabul/Amsterdam - The medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières deeply mourns the loss of five of its aid workers, who were killed in a brutal attack in Afghanistan yesterday. All five were committed to bringing humanitarian assistance to people in distress.

MSF condemns this cowardly attack in the strongest terms. The killing of humanitarian workers is to be considered a war crime according to International Law.

The MSF workers were killed on Wednesday afternoon in the province of Badghis, in the north west of Afghanistan. The Toyota Land cruiser in which they were travelling was ambushed and shot at from various directions. Grenade shrapnel was also found embedded in the car. The fact that nothing was stolen from the car is clear evidence that this was not a robbery.

The Taliban have reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack. MSF can neither confirm nor deny these reports.

MSF has a long history in Afghanistan and started providing medical assistance to the population in 1980. Throughout the years, throughout different phases of conflict and despite regime changes we have stayed in Afghanistan with one objective: to assist the Afghani people suffering from a chronic war. The communities we work for have always accepted MSF's role as an independent humanitarian organisation.

This cowardly attack does not only jeopardise the work of independent humanitarian workers, but also the provision of assistance to Afghans in need.

All sections of MSF have suspended activities while we consider how we can continue to offer medical assistance to people in desperate need under these conditions.