Relief workers in Pakistan under threat of violence

The UN is reviewing security after the Taliban issued a chilling threat to attack foreigners delivering aid to Pakistan flood victims.

“The Pakistani militant group Tehrik-e Taliban plans to conduct attacks against foreigners participating in the ongoing flood relief operations in Pakistan,” according to a UN official.

This follows news that three humanitarian workers operating in the Swat Valley, in the northern part of the country, have been killed by Pakistani Taliban while working to bring aid to flood victims, according to Fides News Agency today.

The tragic news was communicated to Fides by Fr Robert McCulloch, a priest of the Columban Fathers, a missionary in Pakistan for over 32 years, and was confirmed by local humanitarian organisations.

In a country where religious tensions run high, it is sad but perhaps not altogether unexpected that factions have been unable to put their difference behind them to unite behind the common cause, the relief effort after the worst flooding in history.

“The purpose of these attacks is an attempt to maintain absolute control of the territory in the Swat Valley, where even prior to the flooding there were clashes between the Pakistani army and the fundamentalist militia,” Fr McCulloch said.

Christians and other religious minorities are among the main victims. Last March, six workers from the Christian-based humanitarian NGO World Vision were killed by an explosion in the Mansehra district.


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