NEW YORK – Two campaign aides have been shot and killed in Afghanistan. The attack and murders happened on Saturday at about 6:30PM Afghanistan time. The assault killed Faiz Zada Hamdard, who was a campaign manager for candidate, Abdullah Abdullah. Also murdered was the driver of the candidate’s vehicle, Shujauddin, who was only 19 years old. He was the nephew of a well-known jihadi commander.
By late Saturday evening, Afghani police had detained several suspects.
The United Nations is strongly condemning the killing of two campaign aides who were shot dead in the western city of Herat, the top United Nations official in Afghanistan has stressed that such cowardly attempts to disrupt the country’s election process “cannot be tolerated”, and called on the national authorities to take all measures to bring the perpetrators to justice.
In a statement issued from Kabul, Ján Kubiš Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, deplored the killing Saturday night of two members of the campaign team of presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah, who were killed by unidentified gunmen in Herat city.
“The attack came at a critical moment for Afghanistan on the eve of the election campaign as the country prepares for the presidential and provincial polling in April,” said Mr. Kubiš, who added that such cowardly acts of violent intimidation of electoral candidates and their supporters cannot be tolerated.
The UNAMA chief expressed his deepest condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of those who lost their lives “in this criminal act”, and he urged national authorities to take necessary measures to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Calling on the Afghan security forces to be on heightened vigilance over the coming weeks leading up to the 5 April elections, Mr. Kubiš deplored any attempts to undermine the electoral process and holding of the polls, which are seen as a vital step in Afghanistan’s ongoing transition in 2014. This year will also see the withdrawal of the majority of allied international military forces, with national forces assuming full responsibility for security countrywide.
“The people of Afghanistan should be able to exercise their fundamental right to express their democratic will and to vote in an atmosphere free of intimidation and violence,” he said in the statement, and called on all concerned to ensure the peaceful completion of the polling process and holding of the election on the date established by the Independent Election Commission.