Afghanistan getting more dangerous: Report



Afghanistan getting more dangerous: Report 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 was worsening.

"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 provinces.

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 said.

"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 Safety Office.

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.

PTI