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ICRC concerned at increasing Afghan civilian casualties

ICRC concerned at increasing Afghan civilian casualties

Jul 14, 2011 - 17:32

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon):  The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Thursday expressed deep concern over civilian casualties in the Afghan war, saying groups involved had promised not to target civilians during clashes.

Pierre Krähenbühl, the ICRC operationsdirectorin Afghanistaninfo-icon, told a press conference that he met and talked to Afghan officials, the international troops and militants on civilian casualties. He said all the parties had promised to avoid civilian casualties.
 “It is the responsibility of both sides of the conflict to ensure people's access to civil services and prevent civilian casualties during suicide attacks and military operations,” Krähenbühl said.
The number of civilians killed in the Afghan war in the first half of 2011 rose 15 percent, the United Nations said Thursday, putting the year on track to be the deadliest in a decade.
"The dispute in Afghanistan has entered a new phase, with the security situation for civilians at a critical level," the ICRC official said.
He urged both parties to the conflict to pay attention to the treatment of injured people. He also called on doctors to respect injured irrespective their affiliation with any group.  He said both sides of the dispute should abide by the international human rights laws.
He said people living in remote villages of Helmand, Knadahar, Farah, Logar, Khost and Kunar provinces were left with no option but to join one of the parties to the conflict.
The ICRC official said Afghan people were faced with problems like roadside bombings, thorough searches at checkpoints and lack of healthinfo-icon facilities.
He said he had talked to the US and NATOinfo-icon officials about the increasing number of civilian casualties.

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