Save the Children suspends operations in Afghanistan after attack

Afghan security personnel stand guard at the scene of a deadly suicide attack in Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018. Attahullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor said a group of gunmen stormed the office of the non-governmental organization, Save the Children. (AP Photo)

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (WTNH)– Fairfield-based ‘Save The Children‘ is suspending its operations in Afghanistan after an attack on one of its offices there.

A vehicle packed with explosives blew up outside the office. Then, three men stormed the office with assault rifles and rocket propelled grenades.

Related: 5 dead, 28 injured in attack on children’s group in Afghanistan

Five people were killed, three of them were employees of Save The Children. 28 others were hurt.

“These are all Afghan nationals who dedicated their lives to supporting children. Making sure they have a healthy start, that they learn that they are protected,” said Carlos Carrazana.

“They were trying to give life-saving health services, education, child protection and nutrition to children. Why should they be attacked?” said Helle Thorning-Schmidt, CEO of Save the Children International.

Save the Children was distributing school bags for needy Afghan children when the terrorists hit.

ISIS has claimed responsibility.

Save the Children, U.S. Board of Chair Dr. Jill Biden issued the following statement on behalf of the organization’s Board of Directors Thursday:

Our hearts are broken, and our prayers are with the victims, our beloved colleagues, and their families. While Afghanistan is known to be one of the most difficult and dangerous places to work in the world, Save the Children has been dedicated to improving the lives of Afghan children and their families for more than 40 years. Through community-based education and healthcare programs in 16 provinces across the country, we have reached more than 1.4 million children. And when disaster strikes, our staff is ready to respond, ensuring that we quickly meet the needs of the most vulnerable children. While we are united in our sorrow we remain determined to honor the legacy of those who lost their lives yesterday through the work of Save the Children. Our mission will guide us through this trying time – we will continue to serve the children of the world with hope and courage, and we will continue to defend the safety of the men and women who heed that call.”

Save The Children will resume its work in Afghanistan when it’s safe to do so.

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