Renewed Violence Threatens Aid Work In Afghanistan
The IRC has joined other aid groups in Afghanistan in an appeal to the new Afghan government to deal with rising violence in northern areas of the country.
In a letter to President Hamid Karzai, the agencies warned that unless the violence is contained, “it will become increasingly difficult for the assistance community to reach people in dire need.”
The organizations call for an increased police presence and urgent talks with the new administration to discuss ways of curbing violence and bringing peace to the region.
The IRC's office in warlord-controlled Mazar-e-Sharif reports factional clashes, looting and a significant increase in attacks, including sexual violence. Some attacks have been directed at international aid workers, and the IRC's field coordinator in Mazar, Arnault Serra-Horguilin, says there are growing concerns among agencies about the safety of staff and the future of operations in the area. (Click here for full text of letter to Karzai)
The IRC's programs in and around Mazar reach some 800,000 people. The programs focus on aiding internally displaced families in their return to their communities of origin by providing a three-month supply of food, shelter materials and tools for repairs, seeds, fertilizer and farming tools and other items. The IRC is also engaged in community rehabilitation projects, including sanitation, water supply and irrigation improvements.