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UN suspends operations in Peshawar

April 06, 2010 20:25 IST

The United Nations has closed all its offices and suspended its operations in this northwestern Pakistani city due to security fears in the wake of an audacious terrorist attack on the US consulate. All UN offices in Peshawar, the capital of the North West Frontier Province, will remain closed for two days because of the security situation.

A UN spokesman told PTI that the step was a precautionary measure aimed at protecting the world body's employees. UN staffers have been directed not to attend office and to work from home till Thursday, when the organisation will review the security situation, the spokesman said. Other officials said the UN staff will be asked to resume work if the review meeting decides the security situation has improved.

Militants armed with automatic weapons and suicide car bombs tried to storm the US consulate yesterday, killing two Pakistani security guards and a policemen. At least six attackers were gunned down or blew themselves up.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was carried out to avenge US drone strikes in the country's tribal belt. The attack on the consulate came hours after a suicide bomber struck a political gathering in Timergara, killing nearly 50 people, most of them supporters of the Awami National Party.

The security situation in the North West Frontier Province has affected UN operations in the past too. The UN suspended its operations last year after a suicide car bomb attack on the Pearl Continental Hotel, which killed at least four UN staffers.

In November last year, the UN pulled out all its foreign staffers from the NWFP and the tribal areas. Most UN offices in cities like Islamabad resemble fortresses and extensive security measures have also been put in place at the homes of employees.

A Muhammad in Peshawar
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