Afghan security situation alarming: ICRC
Last Updated: Wednesday, October 05, 2011, 00:00
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 of war.

"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 north."

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.

Bureau Report

First Published: Wednesday, October 05, 2011, 00:00

comments powered by Disqus