UN officials express condolences for two German journalists killed in Afghanistan

“This tragic incident underlines the dangers that many journalists face in playing a vital role to highlight the issues and concerns of the Afghan people,” said Aleem Siddique, a senior public information officer for the UN Assistance Mission for Afghanistan (UNAMA).Karen Fischer, 30, and Christian Struwe, 38, had camped in Baghlan, about 150 kilometers (95 miles) northwest of Kabul when they were killed by unidentified people in their tent, Afghan officials reported.The two journalists had visited several United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) projects in northern Afghanistan and were en route to the central province of Bamiyan, the site of ancient Buddha statues of the Buddha blown up by the Taliban regime in March 2001.Meanwhile the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) reported a half a million Euros donation from Italy will enable it to conduct a thorough needs assessment for women and adolescent girls in six provinces, including Baghlan.Baghlan has seen little of the Taliban-linked violence that is plaguing southern and eastern Afghanistan although unknown gunmen killed a Canadian carpenter building a school in the area in July.Afghanistan’s still had a very high maternal mortality rate of 1,500 per 100,000 live births, reflecting the limited access to basic reproductive health care and the scarcity of female health workers, Siddique said. Together with the National Humanitarian Youth Organization, UNICEF is providing literacy and vocational skills training to approximately 350 former child soldiers, and other war-affected children in Faryab province, including 70 girls, he added.

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