An organization which I used to work for lost three international and one national staff in Afghanistan today. From early reports, it sounds like they were targeted, gunmen came up next to their car, emptied rounds in and killed them all.
The names of the victims haven't been released yet, their families haven't been notified. What this has meant is panicked skypes, e-mails and facebook messages being sent around from friend to friend, all checking in, making sure, trying to find out "am I mourning in specific right now, or in general?" I've covered most of my bases, but there are still a few people we're trying to track down. It is a pretty sickening feeling.
I often say that I am not a fan of the over-securitized nature of aid work today. I think smart, sensible precautions should be taken based on the situation in the site but, as well, we all are taking a certain amount of risk when we take these jobs. And I still believe it. An attack like this hasn't happened in ages, there was no reason for the staff to think they were in any more danger than usual. We have to balance the persistent undercurrent of threat with the reality of delivering services.
That said, my god, the poor country director. The agonies he must be going through right now, not that any of it at ALL is his fault.
It just breaks my heart. I'm so sorry for everyone.