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Killing of two AIHRC employees draw widespread condemnations

‘Heinous attack on human rights defenders unjustifiable’

AT News

KABUL: Two human right defenders were killed when a sticky bomb attached to their vehicle exploded in Kabul on Saturday morning. Kabul police spokesman Ferdaws Faramurz confirmed the attack, which has not been claimed by any group so far.

Afghanistan Independent Human Right Commission (AIHRC) has announced that its employees lost their lives when their car was targeted by an IED. “They were Fatima Khalil, a Donor Liaison Officer and Jawid Folad, a driver. They were traveling in a Commission shuttle taking them to the office early this morning when the vehicle was struck by an IED at Butkhak Square, District, 12,” the agency said in a statement.

The Commission is shocked by their killing which goes against the teachings of Islam, the Constitution, and International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, it added.

“Ms. Khalil was a young human rights defender at the beginning of her career. That she will not be able to fulfill her enormous potential is a tragedy. Mr Folad was one of the Commission’s longest serving and loyal drivers.”

The agency has condemned such a heinous attack on their employees in the strongest possible terms. “As of now, no group has claimed the responsibility of the attack and the perpetrators have not been identified yet. Those responsible should be identified after an investigation and brought to justice for committing this terrible crime.”

This is not the first time that Commission staff have been targeted and paid the ultimate sacrifice. Last September, Abdul Samad Ameri, the Acting Head of the Ghor Provincial Office was abducted on the Kabul-Ghor highway in Maidan Wardak Province and killed two days later by gunfire.

In previous years other AIHRC personnel have also lost their lives in targeted attacks. This forms a pattern of attacks on a constitutionally mandated national human rights institution that is unparalleled. “It is intolerable. In the context of armed conflict deliberately killing human rights defenders is a war crime,” the agency said. The human rights defenders assured the Afghans that it will remain committed to promoting and protecting human rights in Afghanistan.

Former President Hamid Karzai has strongly condemned the attack on the Human Rights Commission employees.

US embassy in Kabul said that the attack on the AIHRC is unacceptable. “Recently, we and this country’s citizens have grieved the deaths of Afghan security forces, innocent civilians, religious scholars, representatives of Afghanistan’s judicial system, and now those who defend human rights and liberty. These attacks must end,” US ambassador said.

He called on all those who love Afghanistan to break this cycle of violence and death, to end the impunity and indignity of such attacks on the Afghan people, and to work for peace.

“Appalling news of the killing of the employees of AIHRC today. I strongly condemn the attack targeting human rights advocates who work to protect the Afghan people. My deep condolences to the families of the victims, colleagues and friends,” – NATO SCR Stefano Pontecorvo said.

The UNAMA also condemned the killing of two human rights defenders. “There can be no justification for attacks against human rights defenders. Immediate investigation needed with perpetrators held to account.”

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