The main UN compound in Herat, Afghanistan was attacked by “anti-government elements” on Friday and at least one security guard was killed, according to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, or UNAMA.
Rocket-propelled grenades and gunfire were used to target the entrances of the provincial compound, which was clearly marked as a UN facility, according to UNAMA. Heavy fighting between the Taliban and Afghan security forces was also seen near the compound.
No UN personnel were injured in the attack, and UNAMA said it was urgently seeking to identify the perpetrators and hold them accountable.
“This attack against the United Nations is deplorable and we condemn it in the strongest terms,” said Deborah Lyons, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan in UNAMA’s statement. “Our first thoughts are with the family of the officer slain and we wish a speedy recovery to those injured.”
Lyons added that attacks against UN personnel and compounds are prohibited under international law, and may amount to war crimes.
The attack comes as U.S. and coalition forces near the end of their withdrawal from Afghanistan, with Afghan security forces struggling to hold back Taliban fighters that continue to make stunning advances on provincial capitals in the war-torn country.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in a statement that the U.S. “strongly condemns the attack” and emphasized the need to end the ongoing violence in Afghanistan.
“We reiterate our call for an immediate reduction in violence in Afghanistan, and for all regional actors to encourage the parties to return to negotiations without delay so that the Afghan people can achieve a durable and just political settlement that brings the peace and security they deserve,” Sullivan said.