The International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) has expressed deep concerns over the increasing number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan this year as the violence in the war-ravaged country shows no sign of ending.
As concerns over a possible surge in violence during 2016 grows, ICRC has called on warring factions to respect humanitarian laws, allow humanitarian activities to reach the needy and avoid harming civilians and aid workers.
Meanwhile, the parliamentary commission for internal security has called on the government to step up efforts and ensure the protection of aid workers. The commission warned that humanitarian aid would decrease if government does not take action to ensure the security of aid workers.
The ICRC predicts more violence in 2016.
“The ICRC is not issuing any statistics, so we can not confirm or not if there was indeed an increase in terms of solid numbers, it is obvious that last year the ICRC noticed an increase of fighting compared to previous years, so it is very likely that unfortunately the number of civilian casualties are on the rise. It is also obvious that the humanitarian needs due to this increasing conflict are getting bigger and bigger. There is a growing difficulty for Afghans to reach medical care to get assistance when they are displaced inside the country and all these are super worrying trends in Afghanistan and the ICRC is very concerned,” an ICRC official in Afghanistan told TOLOnews.
ICRC has called on the warring factions not to pose harm to civilians.
“The ICRC would like to call everybody in Afghanistan to respect international humanitarian law. The ICRC has been created on the basis of finding laws that protect people during wars, and if these laws would be better applied by all the people fighting, we believe the civilian population would be better protected. So we are calling specially to make sure that during fighting the civilian population is protected and not attacked specially, and also the medical facilities that the civilian population need when they are wounded or when they are sick are also protected and not attacked during conflict,” he added.
Afghan parliamentarians have also called on government to take steps and ensure protection of aid works.
“If the current situation continues and appropriate security measures are not taken for safety of diplomatic institutions and aid agencies, aid would be decreased and this will raise questions over the credibility of Afghanistan,” Mirdad Khan Nejrabi, head of parliament’s internal security commission said.
This comes three days after unknown armed men kidnapped at least five ICRC aid workers in Ghazni province, however they were then released on the mediation of tribal elders in the province.