On Friday, the main UN compound in the capital of the Afghan province of Herat in western Afghanistan was attacked by “anti-government elements” and at least one security officer was killed, said the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
The attack, involving rocket-propelled grenades and rifles, came hours after Taliban fighters penetrated deep into the town of Herat, and heavy clashes with Afghan security forces took place near the UNAMA’s provincial headquarters, officials said.
In a statement released after the attack, the UN said it was urgently seeking to paint a full picture of the aggression.
It is not immediately known who attacked the complex, but a Western security official told Reuters that all diplomatic complexes in the city were on high alert.
UNAMA said the attack was directed against the entrances to the complex, which was clearly identified as a UN facility.
Deborah Lyons, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Afghanistan, said: “This attack on the United Nations is deplorable and we condemn it in the strongest terms.
UNAMA said no UN personnel were injured in the incident.
The city of Herat is the second provincial capital that the Taliban entered within 24 hours. The insurgents entered the capital of the southern province of Helmand a day earlier and clashes continued there. Civilians rushed to evacuate the city.
“Since Thursday morning, the Taliban have launched attacks in several directions on the town of Lashkar Gah,” a government official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. Lashkar Gah is the capital of Helmand, a southern province bordering Pakistan.
With US-led foreign forces approaching a full troop withdrawal, the Taliban have made rapid territorial gains in the past two months, but have yet to capture any provincial capitals.
A UN report released this week said the number of civilian casualties increased in Afghanistan, with as many deaths in May and June as in the previous four months. The report did not cover casualties in July, when the fighting escalated further.