DUBAI // Twenty-seven UN staff members who survived an attack by the Taliban last week in Kabul were brought to the UAE yesterday after being granted urgent-entry visas. Five UN employees died and several were wounded on Wednesday when militants stormed a guesthouse where they were staying. The state news agency, WAM, reported the arrival of the survivors yesterday.
On Friday, the UAE condemned the attack and vowed to continue its support of the UN's efforts to restore stability and security in conflict-ridden Afghanistan. Ahmed Abdul Rahman al Jarman, the UAE's permanent representative to the UN, also offered the country's condolences to the families of the victims. He said the UN staffers were given special visas because some of them did not carry the necessary travel documents. The injured among them were given treatment in hospitals.
The UAE is also providing assistance to the UN to secure passports so the staffers can return home in the near future. Mr al Jarman's remarks were made before a special meeting convened by the General Assembly to allow Ban Ki-moon, secretary general of the UN, to brief ambassadors on developments in Afghanistan. "These women and men went to Afghanistan with many talents. But they shared a common goal, that is, to help the Afghan people," the secretary general said.
"They went despite the risks. They went to support another election and the opportunity for the Afghan people to shape their destiny." Gunmen attacked the guesthouse in an effort to disrupt the forthcoming presidential elections, which are scheduled for Saturday. It will be the second attempt to choose a president, after the first results were declared to be riddled with fraud. This was the third major attack in the Afghan capital recently. Seventeen people were killed by a suicide bomber outside the Indian Embassy on October 8, and 16 people died when a car bomb exploded on one of the main highways on September 17.