EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton said she was “deeply shocked” by the news that the UN office in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, was stormed by a crowd today, which murdered UN staff members and set the office on fire.
It is understood that the demonstrators had been protesting against the burning of the Koran by a Florida pastor, she said in a statement.
“This is another unfortunate example of how ignorance, intolerance and senseless aggression can victimise completely innocent people whose only purpose was to help Afghanistan move towards a brighter future,” she added.
For his part, EU Parliament President Jerzy Buzek said “the burning of the Koran by a pastor in the US – an act in itself to be strongly condemned – appeared to be the reason for the protests which led to the killing.”
“Violence as a response to this provocation cannot in any way be justified, even less against UN workers who were completely alien to the event,” he added.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen “strongly condemned” the attack, saying “the victims of these attacks were devoted to helping the Afghan people build better lives.”