UN moving one-fourth of its foreign staff out of Pakistan

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New York, Jan 1 (ANI): The United Nations has decided to move a quarter of its international staff (60 employees) out of Pakistan over fears of security concerns for at least six months.

The decision, which does not apply to the organization's 2,700 Pakistani employees, will be re-evaluated in three months, according to an UN officialofficial. Improvements in the country's security could shorten the relocation.

The move is the latest sign of foreigners' fears raised by intensified terrorist attacks in recent months throughout the country, including in better-guarded interior areas like the garrison city of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, The News York Times reported.

Militants based in northwestern Pakistan have escalated their attacks in retaliation for a Pakistani military offensive in the South Waziristan tribal area that began this fall.

Two months ago, the United Nations said it was withdrawing international workers from northwestern Pakistan.

The presence of Western organizations in Islamabad has already declined significantly, and most diplomats and aid workers no longer venture out freely even in the tightly controlled capital.

The decision follows a very difficult year in Pakistan for the United Nations.

A dozen of its employees were killed here during 2009, including five from its World Food Program, which was attacked in October by a suicide bomber dressed in paramilitary fatigues. Another dozen were seriously injured during the year.

Two months ago, the United Nations ordered that 600 employees be moved out of Afghanistan after a two-hour insurgent attack on a guesthouse in the capital, Kabul. (ANI)

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