ICRC concerned about civilian victims of war
KABUL (PAN): Afghan civilians continue to pay the price of the ongoing conflict in their country, an international humanitarian organisation said on Tuesday, voicing concern for displaced, sick and wounded individuals.
The Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said the security situation in many parts of the country remained alarming, despite improvements in the quality of life for certain sectors of the population over the past decade.
Jacques de Maio, the ICRC's head of operations for South Asia, said in a statement: "It is imperative that the victims of this continuing and multi-faceted armed conflict receive protection and assistance."
He added local clinics were closed in certain places because of fighting, attacks on premises, or intimidation of staff, with roads are mined or blocked by checkpoints. People taking the sick and wounded to hospital faced long delays, sometimes with tragic consequences, he regretted.
De Maio said many communities in rural areas felt vulnerable as never before, as conflict-related displacement were up over 40 per cent in comparison to last year in parts of the north. "People in many areas, including in the central regions of Wardak and Logar, say they no longer feel safe because they are being intimidated and coerced by all parties into taking sides…"
In the south, he pointed out, malnutrition had increased for reasons, including war, poor education, lack of security, poverty and poor hygiene. In war zones, seasonal epidemics such as measles have risen significantly.
"As international troops leave and responsibility for security passes back to the Afghan authorities, the ICRC is monitoring how the Afghan defence and security forces perform their tasks, including those related to detainees," the statement said.
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