Indian UNDP expert killed
An Indian-American expert working for the UNDP in Afghanistan has been killed in a terrorist attack on a UN vehicle in Kabul, according to US secretary of state Mike Pompeo.
“I want to confirm with a heavy heart that a United States citizen, Anil Raj of California, was killed in a terrorist attack on a UN vehicle in Kabul on November 24. There were five other civilians who were injured, including staff,” Pompeo told reporters at a news conference here on Tuesday.
Raj was working for the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Afghanistan. The UN agency is focused on ending poverty.
“We extend our condolences to the family and friends of the victim following this tragic incident and send our best wishes for a speedy recovery for those who were injured,” he said.
“Attacks targeting UN personnel working to help the Afghan people are unconscionable, and we condemn this act in the strongest possible terms,” Pompeo said.
While the state department did not provide any other details about Raj, US media reports said he hailed from Saratoga, California.
No one has claimed responsibility for the November 24 attack in the war-torn country.
Raj graduated from Saratoga High School in 2002 and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from University of California Riverside and a master's degree in international human rights from the University of Denver.
He joined the UNDP in 2010 as a disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration reports officer in South Sudan. He most recently served as a management specialist in Kabul, The Mercury News reported.
UNDP administrator Achim Steiner has strongly condemned the attack and demanded that the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
“On behalf of the UNDP, I wish to express our deepest condolences to the family of our colleague who was killed and wish a speedy recovery to all those who were injured in this senseless attack.
“UNDP joins the secretary-general in condemning in the strongest possible terms this attack and in calling for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
“Our dedicated staff will continue to serve the Government and people of Afghanistan, as the country strives for peace and development,” Steiner said in a statement.
A team of Indian experts will soon visit Afghanistan to advance the ongoing cooperation between the two countries under the world chemical weapons watchdog’s mentorship.