The United Nations has condemned the “heinous” attack on a UN guest house in Kabul and said it would continue to assist the Afghanistan government in holding presidential elections next week.

“In principle, we are not and we should not be deterred by these heinous terrorist attacks. We will continue our work, particularly on helping the Afghan Government and people, carrying on this second presidential election,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told journalists here.

On Wednesday, Taliban militants attacked the guest house, killing 11 people including five UN employees. The Taliban has warned Afghans to stay away from the polls. The second round of elections are being held since massive fraud invalidated the earlier presidential polls in August.

Mr. Ban acknowledged that considerable security hazards existed but emphasised that he was working with the Afghan authorities to strengthen the safety and security of UN staff.

“It is quite an unfortunate fact of life that we cannot ensure one hundred per cent security because of these suicidal terrorist attacks. But we must take all necessary precautionary measures in terms of our security,” he said.

“We have to first of all get the full support of the Afghan government, the Afghan national security forces as well as the allied ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) forces there, he added.

The UN chief also highlighted recent security-related discussions held between top UN official in Afghanistan Kai Eide and the Karzai administration.

“I was assured by Kai Eide through my telephone talk with him this morning that President Karzai had instructed his Interior Minister to provide strengthened security for United Nations staff there,” he said.

The UN Chief underlined that conducting the elections in the war—torn region swamped by militants would entail tremendous security hazards and urged Mr. Karzai and his rival Abdullah to uphold the law.

“No one underestimates the difficulties, especially in the aftermath of today’s attack,” Mr. Ban said.

“At this point, I would simply say that all operational preparations are being put in place to minimise fraud. If the first round showed anything, it was that fraud does not win,” he added.

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