Britain condemns killings in Afghanistan

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British Foreign Secretary William Hague said he condemned the protesters who killed seven United Nations workers in Afghanistan on Friday.

The foreigners were killed by demonstrators angered by a Koran burning in the United States, the provincial governor said, in what appeared to be the deadliest attack on the UN there since the 2001 invasion.

Five protesters also died in the unrest in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, and 20 were injured, according to the governor.

"I was shocked and saddened to hear of the deaths of UN staff in Mazar-e-Sharif. This was a brutal act which I utterly condemn," Hague said.

"The families and friends of those killed today have my deepest sympathies.

"The work of the UN assistance mission in Afghanistan is of utmost importance. It is vital that they can carry out their work in a safe and secure environment.

"I call upon the Afghan government to investigate this incident and bring the perpetrators to justice."

Britain is the second-largest contributor to international forces in Afghanistan, with around 9,500 troops, largely based in the restive southern province of Helmand.

© 2011 AFP

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