Six staffers of the International Committee of the Red Cross were killed and two others are missing after their convoy was ambushed by unidentified gunmen in northern Afghanistan, the humanitarian agency said Wednesday.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, the deadliest against the ICRC in Afghanistan, but local officials blamed the Islamic State, which is known to have militants operating in the area. The Taliban, which also is fighting the U.S.-backed government in Kabul, denied any involvement in the ambush.

The attack underscored the deterioration of security in Afghanistan, where insurgents have been battling Afghan government and foreign forces since the Taliban was driven from power in late 2001.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility Wednesday for a separate attack — a suicide bombing Tuesday evening that killed at least 22 people outside Afghanistan’s Supreme Court in Kabul, news agencies reported.

The ICRC said the attack on its personnel occurred near Shebergan, capital of the northern province of Jowzjan. The province bordering Turkmenistan has been known as one of a handful of relatively secure areas in northern Afghanistan.

 

 

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Featured image courtesy of AFP.