Kabul: The International Committee of the Red
Cross said on Tuesday that deteriorating security in Afghanistan
has impeded access to medical care, driving it to critically
low levels in some areas of the country after nearly a decade
"Despite improvements in the quality of life for certain
sectors of the population over the past decade, the security
situation in many areas of the country remains alarming," said
Jacques de Maio, the ICRC`s head of operations for South Asia.
"Access to medical care is at a critically low point in
conflict-affected areas, with local clinics closed in some
places because of fighting, attacks on premises, or
intimidation of staff."
Although the ICRC did not name the hardest affected
areas, instability and violence continue throughout
Afghanistan as the conflict passes the 10-year mark this week.
A recent UN report said that the monthly average number
of clashes and other attacks was running nearly 40 per cent
higher than the same time last year.
In the midyear report, the UN said 1,462 Afghan civilians
lost their lives in crossfire between Taliban insurgents and
Afghan, US and NATO forces.
During the first half of last year, 1,271 Afghan
civilians were killed, mostly by roadside bombs.
That UN report said airstrikes conducted by the US-led
coalition remained the leading cause of civilian deaths.
In the first six months of this year, 79 civilian deaths
were attributed to air strikes up 14 per cent from the same
period last year, the UN report said.
"Many communities in rural areas feel vulnerable as never
before," the ICRC said. "Conflict-related displacement is up
over 40 per cent in comparison to last year in parts of the
The ICRC said that even residents in the central regional
regions of Logar and Wardak provinces, near the capital, also
no longer feel safe "because they are being intimidated and
coerced by all parties into taking sides.