UN pulls half its staff out of Afghanistan

United Nations Flag (Photo: ncccusa.org)

United Nations Flag (Photo: ncccusa.org)

On November 5, 2009 the United Nations pulled half of the staff it had in Afghanistan out of the country. A total of 600 of the 1,100 foreign UN workers currently in Afghanistan will now temporarily depart until the situation gets better. The UN also threatened to permanently remove all staff if the situation continues to deteriorate.

This comes on the heels of an attack on a UN guesthouse in the Afghan capital at the end of October, in which 5 UN international staff were killed by gunmen disguised as police.

Meanwhile, other international aid agencies in Afghanistan are tightening up security but do not plan on leaving. These agencies do not believe withdrawing staff sends the right message and they have expressed concern over the United Nations ability to provide greatly needed essential services on the ground with this reduction in staff.

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