Be polite! UN tells stranded local staff to stay calm in any encounters with Taliban

Taliban chef says US exit is ‘our happiest moment’

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It comes amid reports of a number of violent incidents and threats made against UN workers since the jihadists swept back to power. The international organisation has operated in Afghanistan since 2002, employing around 700 international staff members along with 3,000 Afghan nationals. While international staff have been evacuated, no plans seem to have been made for local staff, whose fates now lie at the mercy of the militants.

UN security chiefs have sent memos to their Afghan employees, instructing them on how to interact with the Taliban.

“Stay calm. Your calm and positive interaction with armed elements or de facto authorities, should remain clear, honest and confident,” the memo says.

Furthermore, female staff are advised to reduce their visibility and to avoid answering the door to armed Taliban fighters.

The memo urges its Afghan employees to keep their agency ID cards, despite reports of UN workers being detained, interrogated and in some cases having their houses set on fire.

On Tuesday, Reuters reported Taliban fighters ransacked several UN compounds.

Local staff are said to be feeling “alone and petrified”, according to a report on the news site PassBlue.

An Afghan UN employee, who worked in Kunduz, told The Times: “The Taliban are conducting searches house by house, they have lists of names.

“We are deeply afraid.”

The UN claimed visa issues have made it extremely difficult for it to evacuate local staff.

Stéphane Dujarric, a spokesman for the secretary-general, said the UN was “not a nation that issues visas” at a press conference on August 18.

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He added that the UN is doing its “utmost” for national staff and their families.

“There are all sorts of administrative hurdles that have to be negotiated and discussed,” he said.

“But the national staff is very much on the forefront of what we are trying to do every day.”

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