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UN to evacuate children amid security fears

The UN will evacuate the children of its non-Pakistani employees from Islamabad in the wake of increased terrorist activity in the Pakistani capital.

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The United Nations on Thursday described as "precautionary" its decision to withdraw children of its foreign staff and some non-essential personnel from the Pakistani capital in the wake of last month's hotel bombing.

Farhan Haq, a UN spokesman here, said the action was "a precautionary measure...so that the family members of staff, as well as some non-essential staff, can be relocated temporarily to other sites."

"All essential staff wil remain on duty, and all UN work will proceed as normal," he told AFP. "This is a temporary measure and the United Nations intends to return to regular staffing levels as soon as conditions allow."

Earlier, Fikret Akcura, the UN resident coordinator for Pakistan, told AFP in Islamabad that the world body "has raised the security level... which provides for the movement of dependent children."

"They can either go to a third country outside Pakistan or to their home country," Akcura said, adding that the UN would monitor the situation and would reduce the security level "when we find it is safe."

He did not say how many children would be affected.

The UN move comes despite increased security measures by Pakistani authorities after last month's attack on the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, in which 60 people were killed, and reinforces fears that Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants are destabilizing the country.

 

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