UN chief condemns suicide attack in Pakistan

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Ban Ki-moon on Monday calls the deadly attack on the World Food Programme a "heinous crime."

Geneva -- United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon on Monday condemned the suicide attack that killed five people at the UN World Food Programme's offices in Pakistan, calling it a "heinous crime."

"I condemn in the strongest of terms" the attack at the World Food Programme (WFP) offices, said Ban, adding that it was "unjustifiable" and "a terrible tragedy for the United Nations and the humanitarian community in Pakistan."

The United Nations temporarily closed all its offices in Pakistan following the blast, a UN spokeswoman said in the Pakistani capital Islamabad.

However, Ban restated the world body's commitment to relief efforts in the country.

"We will continue our humanitarian assistance to the Pakistani people," he said on the sidelines of a UN-organised telecommunications show in the Swiss city of Geneva.

"I again strongly condemn those heinous crimes perpetrated against humanitarian workers," he added.

Four Pakistanis and an Iraqi national were killed Monday when a suicide bomber attacked the heavily-protected WFP office in central Islamabad, officials and the United Nations said.

Police said they were investigating how the bomber broke strict security and walked into the WFP offices to detonate about eight kilograms (17 pounds) of explosives.

There was no claim of responsibility, but blame fell on the Taliban, amid increased suicide bombings as the new leadership pledge to take revenge for the death of their commander Baitullah Mehsud in a US missile strike.

In New York, the UN Staff Union said in a statement it was "extremely concerned" that the world body did not implement "all necessary safety and security arrangements to protect its staff."

It called for an investigation into the circumstances of this attack, especially since it was not without warning and occurred after two UN staff members were killed in the 9 June suicide attack on a hotel in Peshawar.

The attack also took place after improved security following the 2008 truck bomb assault on the Marriott hotel in Islamabad that killed 60 people and wounded another 260.

AFP / Expatica

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