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In recent years, the United Nations has also suffered deadly attacks in Iraq and Algeria. Its offices in the Gaza Strip were hit during an Israeli offensive last winter.

“Increasingly, the U.N. is being targeted, in this case precisely because of our support for the Afghan elections,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters during a surprise visit to Kabul earlier this week.

The Taliban took responsibility for the pre-dawn assault in Kabul.

U.N. officials said they are not leaving Afghanistan, merely regrouping.

Mr. Ban also said he would ask the General Assembly to create an emergency fund for the U.N. Department of Safety and Security. The money would supplement existing reserves to “meet the new [security] demands in an increasingly dangerous world,” he said.

Other recent assaults on U.N. staffers include:

- Twin bombings in Algiers killed at least 34 people, including 17 U.N. staff members, in December 2007. An al Qaeda-affiliated group claimed responsibility.

- At least 23 people, including chief U.N. envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello, died in an August 2003 suicide attack on a building used by the United Nations in Baghdad.

- U.N. workers have also been killed this year in the Pakistani cities of Quetta and Peshawar, as well as in Sudan and Somalia.