Militants kill 6 Red Cross workers in Afghanistan


EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides has said an attack on those who work to help others is an attack on humanity and a grave violation of global humanitarian law.

In a recent report on its work in Afghanistan, the ICRC said it was anxious about the "shrinking access of humanitarian aid workers in many parts of the country", because of "the intensification of conflict-related violence".

Aid workers in Afghanistan have increasingly come under attack amid a surge in violence in recent years.

"We want to collect ourselves as a team and support each other in processing this incomprehensible act and finding our two unaccounted-for colleagues", Zanarelli said.

The governor of Jowzjan province, Lotfullah Azizi, said the aid convoy was attacked by suspected Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) gunmen.

The aid agency has had an uninterrupted presence in Afghanistan for 30 years.

A search operation was under way to find two charity workers still missing.

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"We will put our operations on hold for at least a week after our colleagues were killed in the attack last night", Thomas Glass, an aid worker and public relations officer with the ICRC, told Al Jazeera. "We are one of the few organisations that is present throughout the country, and we will do everything we can to maintain our response in Afghanistan".

Mike Adamson, chief executive of the British Red Cross, said there was a "profoundly worrying escalation in loss of life of humanitarian workers".

The Taliban, the largest militant group in Afghanistan, said they were not behind the attack.

On Wednesday, six members of the ICRC were shot dead by group of armed men described by the local police as pro-Daesh rebels.

If confirmed, it would be the first assault by loyalists of the Middle East-based terrorist group against an worldwide organization in Afghanistan.

The motive behind the attack remains unknown, and no group has taken responsibility for it so far.