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Aid Group Suspends Afghan Operations

3 June 2004 -- The killing of five aid workers from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Afghanistan's northwestern Badghis Province on 2 June caused the international organization to suspend operations in the country.

"In the coming weeks we will analyze this event in depth, but for the moment, our priority is to take care of those most affected by this tragedy," MSF spokeswoman Hawkins said today in Kabul. "For the time being, our activities will be suspended nationwide."

The United Nations and Belgium condemned the killings of the workers, identified as two Afghan men, a Dutch man, a Norwegian man, and a Belgian woman.

The Taliban has been blamed for the attack.

UN spokesman in Afghanistan Manoel de Almeida e Silva said today that the UN was also suspending work in Badghis and has temporarily closed all voter-registration sites in the province.

De Almeida e Silva said it was still too early to judge what impact the killings would have on efforts to hold elections, tentatively scheduled for September, but he said security has been a major area of concern.