Disabled urge ICRC to resume work
JALALABAD (PAN): Dozens of special people on Sunday gathered in this eastern city of Jalalabad to condemn a recent terrorist attack on the Red Cross office in the eastern Nangarhar province.
The disabled, including amputees, chanted slogans against Pakistan, blaming the neighbouring country for carrying out the gun-suicide attack that left one Afghan guard killed on Wednesday.
They urged the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which halted work after the assault, to resume its operations and assisting the disabled people in war-torn country.
Famous for its programmes providing artificial limbs and rehabilitation for victims of war and landmines, the humanitarian organisation began work in Afghanistan 26 years ago.
Massoud Sapi, the head of the disabled people’s union, told Pajhwok Afghan News the Red Cross was an impartial group providing humanitarian assistance to people worldwide. He said such organisations should be protected by the government and the armed opposition groups.
“The attack was the handiwork of Afghanistan’s enemies who oppose assistance to the Afghans,” he said, as the protestors chanted anti-Pakistan slogans and death to the perpetrators of the attack. Many of them were in wheelchairs and others used crutches.
Ajar Khan, one of the protestors, said the Red Cross provided equal assistance to those in the government, armed individuals and common people. He appealed to the Red Cross to resume its operations in Jalalabad.
At the end of hour-long protest, the disabled issued a statement condemning the attack and expressing their sympathies with Red Cross officials.
They said the attack was tantamount to targeting families of the disabled people in Afghanistan, asking the government to talk to the main Red Cross office in Kabul on resuming its operations.
The ICRC, which has 36 staff in Jalalabad including six expatriates, has halted all staff movements at its clinics and offices around the country.
"We have enormous problems. The ICRC has been the only one helping us," said Firdous, an amputee. "We call on the government to protect the ICRC," he concluded.
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