New York: Afghanistan, with a strong Taliban
presence, has become "more dangerous" now and the humanitarian
space in the war-torn country is shrinking day by day,
according to leading NGOs.
Concerned over the rapidly deteriorating security
situation in the country in recent months, the Afghan NGO
Safety Office said that Afghanistan is more dangerous now than
at any time since 2001, `The New York Times` reported.
Large parts of the country that were once secure, like
most of the northern provinces, now have a strong Taliban
presence, the report said, noting that the environment there
"The humanitarian space is shrinking day by day," said a
CARE Afghanistan official, Abdul Kebar.
The current scenario also calls into question the
country`s ability to carry out legitimate nationwide elections
for Parliament next Saturday.
Unarmed government employees can no longer travel safely
in 30 per cent of the country`s 368 districts, the paper said
citing the United Nations. There are districts deemed too
dangerous to visit in all but one of the country`s 34
Further, the number of insurgent attacks has increased
significantly. In August 2009, they carried out 630 attacks.
American military officials attribute the increase in
violence to the rise in the number of its forces there.
The last 2,000 of 30,000 new American troops are expected
to reach the country in the next week or two, they were quoted
as saying, with the paper pointing out that the troop build-up
was a response to the Taliban getting stronger.
Four years ago, the militants were active in only four
provinces but now they are operating in 33 out of 34, the NGOs
"We do not support the perspective that this constitutes
`things getting worse before they get better` but rather see
it as being consistent with the five-year trend of things just
getting worse," said Nic Lee, director of the Afghan NGO
Due to the deteriorating security scene, humanitarian
organisations are adopting all sorts of precautions by
restricting their movements, using local instead of foreign
staff and pulling back from some areas altogether.
As a result, while insurgent attacks have more than
doubled since last year, attacks on NGOs have actually
declined by 35 per cent, according to Lee.