KABUL, Feb. 18 (Press Shia) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Saturday called for safe release of its two local staff abducted in Afghanistan’s northern province of Jawzjan earlier this month.

“We call on the abductors’ sense of humanity and request the immediate, safe and unconditional release of our colleagues,” Monica Zanarelli, head of the ICRC delegation in Afghanistan, said in a statement.

On Feb. 8, six ICRC local staff were shot and killed and two others kidnapped after gunmen ambushed their vehicles in Qushtapa district of the province, 390 km north of Kabul.

“We also ask that any action that could endanger their lives is avoided. We do not want the agony and heartache of this tragedy to deepen,” Zanarelli said.

The aid agency also urged Afghan authorities and armed groups operating in the area to do their utmost to secure the safe release of the abductees, and to avoid taking any action that could endanger their lives.

“The ICRC has been active in Afghanistan for three decades, impartially assisting victims of the conflict with medical care, food assistance, family contacts and the dignified handling of human remains. It is a neutral, impartial      and independent organization whose sole mission is strictly humanitarian,” the statement reads.

The ICRC has suspended its operations in the militancy-hit country following the deadly incident.

XINHUA/Press Shia