Afghan Red Cross workers ‘killed by IS’-NewsCO

February 8, 2017

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The Red Cross has worked in Afghanistan through many years of war

Six Afghan Red Cross workers have been killed by suspected Islamic State (IS) group gunmen in the northern province of Jowzjan, officials say.

The workers were shot dead in the Qush Tepa area, the governor told the BBC.

Two others are unaccounted for, feared abducted by the group, he said. The ICRC confirmed the deaths but said it did not know who had killed its staff.

IS has been active in Afghanistan since 2015, claiming recent attacks in the east and Kabul.

There was no immediate claim for the attack in Jowzjan.

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Government officials said the Red Cross staff were transporting supplies to areas affected by recent deadly snowstorms, Reuters news agency reports.

Jowzjan governor Lutfullah Azizi confirmed to the BBC that all six employees who were killed were Afghan.

Taliban militants have also targeted the Red Cross in the past – its office in Jalalabad was attacked in 2013.

IS announced it was expanding into Afghanistan in January 2015 and has secured footholds in parts of eastern Nangarhar province, on the border with Pakistan.

But Afghan troops and the Taliban have prevented them from moving permanently beyond that, observers say.

Since mid-2016 the group appears to have switched tactics, launching a series of deadly attacks against Shia Muslims and others in Kabul and bombing a mosque in the northern province of Balkh, neighbouring Jowzjan, in October.

On Wednesday, IS said it had carried out an attack at the Supreme Court in Kabul a day earlier, killing at least 20 people.

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