By Shadi Khan Saif
A female Spanish physiotherapist associated with the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) was killed by a patient in northern Afghanistan’s Balkh province on Monday, officials said.
The security chief of the provincial police Abdul Razaq told Anadolu Agency that the victim was working at the ICRC facility in the provincial capital, Mazar-e-Sharif, and was shot dead by a young disabled patient who had been under treatment at the facility for 19 years.
The security chief said the assailant had been apprehended and an investigation was launched into the murder.
The ICRC also said in a statement "a Spanish physiotherapist working in our ortho centre in Mazar has been shot and killed.
"We are shocked and devastated," it added.
The humanitarian organization had announced last Tuesday that two ICRC staff members, who were abducted in February in neighboring Jawzjan province, had been released.
"We are relieved and grateful that our colleagues are now back with us unharmed," said the ICRC head of delegation in Afghanistan, Monica Zanarelli.
"Their abduction and the killings of our six colleagues were emotional agony for all of us, especially for their families and friends," she said referring to the Feb. 7 incident when pro-Daesh militants in the restive Jawzjan province attacked an ICRC convoy in the Qosh Tapa area, killing six aid workers and abducting two others.
Abduction and kidnapping of foreigners in particular is a recurring phenomenon in Afghanistan involving both the militant factions as well as criminal syndicates.
The February attack on the ICRC convoy in Jawzjan was followed by another deadly incident in May when armed individuals killed a German woman and her Afghan guard, and kidnapped a Finnish woman from an international guesthouse in Kabul run by the Swedish-based charity, Operation Mercy.
Following the incident, the British government warned its citizens about "a very high and constant threat" to Westerners of kidnapping in Afghanistan, with over 100 people kidnapped since 2001.