Aid work suspended after suspected Islamic State ambush left six dead and two missing
Vital aid work has been halted in Afghanistan following the deaths of six Red Cross staff yesterday in an ambush by militants.
Two other workers are missing, the charity said.
The international relief organisation said there has been an alarming rise in the number of its staff being targeted and that it was currently pausing operations in the country.
A team of three drivers and five field officers was on its way to deliver livestock materials to an area that needed aid, when their convoy was deliberately attacked.
Mike Adamson, chief executive of the British Red Cross, said: “Today is a dark day in the history of our organisation. We mourn the tragic deaths of seven colleagues killed in just one day, while undertaking humanitarian work in Afghanistan and Syria.
“The British Red Cross utterly condemns all attacks on aid workers and other civilians. These abhorrent attacks are glaring reminders of the risks Red Cross staff and volunteers face every day to provide life-saving assistance to people in conflict zones.
“Civilians, including humanitarian relief workers, who are caught up in conflicts are protected under international humanitarian law. All parties to a conflict must respect these laws and protect aid workers and civilians from hostilities.
All parties to a conflict must...protect aid workers and civilians from hostilities - MIke Adamson
“The safety and security of humanitarian personnel is crucial for the delivery of relief to people in desperate need. These attacks have devastating consequences, depriving those most vulnerable of vital assistance.”
The aid agency has had an uninterrupted presence in Afghanistan for 30 years, but will be putting its work on temporary hold as "we need to understand more clearly what happened", ICRC director of operations Dominik Stillhart said.
"But... this is one of the most critical humanitarian contexts and we will definitely do everything to continue our operations there."
A search is under way the two ICRC employees who have not been accounted for.