KABUL - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Monday expressed its concern over the escalating armed conflict in Afghanistan and asked the parties involved to do all they could to reduce civilian casualties.
ICRC Country Director Reto Stacker slammed armed groups' behavior with civilians and said the continued conflict put civilian lives at risk and forced them to leave their houses. Non-combatants also fell prey to roadside bombings, he said.
On the completion of his seven years mission, he was going to leave Afghanistan, Rector told a news conference in Kabul. He reiterated his apprehension about the civilian situation, saying the war impeded the smooth provision of humanitarian assistance.
The civilians' lack of assess to health services in conflict-affected areas was a big challenge for the improvement of the health sector, he said. Afghanistan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) volunteers also faced problems in Taliban-controlled areas, he added.
"We would continue talks with the parties concerned on the protection of defenseless people's rights. We want the Afghan government to pay greater attention to stopping attacks on civilians," the ICRC official said.
The country director also voiced his concern at dwindling international assistance to Afghanistan and the situation of prisoners after the withdrawal of foreign troops by the end of 2014.
"Inmates should be treated according to national and international laws and prison condition improved. I am concerned about a possible decrease in assistance after the withdrawal of foreign troops," he Rector continued.
Since the beginning of the current year, ICRC staff members made 249 visits to 97 detention centers, monitored 2,917 detainees individually and visited 1,167 of them for the first time. It also paid travel expenses for 27 ex-detainees to return to their home villages.
The ICRC provides medicines and support to Shiberghan Hospital in Jawzjan and Mirwais Regional Hospital in Kandahar, both run by the Ministry of Public Health. In addition, it provides 47 Afghan Red Crescent clinics with technical and financial support, medicines and other supplies. (Pajhwok)