Kabul, Afghanistan (BBN)– Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has voiced his deep distress at the news that two United Nations staff members were among those killed in Tuesday’s suicide bombing in Kabul, which reportedly killed at least seven people, just two days ahead of Afghanistan’s presidential and provincial council elections.

The two staffers killed in the attack, the second incident of its kind in three days, were Afghan nationals, as is a third colleague who was wounded and is currently being treated for his injuries.

A statement issued by the United Nations chief’s spokesperson said the Secretary-General was “deeply distressed” by the news, and offered his deepest condolences to the families of those killed and his best wishes for a rapid recovery to the injured.

Mr. Ban’s Special Representative, Kai Eide, said the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) is in the process of contacting the families of the deceased.

“I am shocked and greatly saddened to have learned that two of my staff members were among those killed in today’s suicide bombing,” Mr. Eide, who heads UNAMA, said in a statement. “I condemn completely those responsible.”

Speaking at a news conference earlier Tuesday, Mr. Eide stated that security is his main concern as the country prepares to go to the polls on 20 August. “I appeal again to those who threaten with violence – and use violence – to allow Afghans to choose who should be the future leader of Afghanistan.”

Forty-one presidential candidates, including two women, are running for the nation’s top post while more than 3,000 Afghans are competing for provincial council seats during the elections, which are being organized by the Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC).

BBN/SS/SI/AD-19August09-9:44 am (BST)