Islamabad: The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has decided to “drastically reduce” its presence in Afghanistan after a series of deadly attacks on its staff, the humanitarian aid agency has said.
The organisation, which helps people affected by armed conflict, has been running humanitarian programmes in the country for more than 30 years. The Red Cross said it would be reducing workers in the country for security reasons. Monica Zanarelli – the ICRC director in Afghanistan – said there was no choice other than this because of the increasing risks. In February, an attack on an aid convoy in the north of the country saw six employees killed.
Just last month, a Spanish physiotherapist working for the ICRC in Mazar-i-Sarif was shot by one of his patients. Besides fatality risks, members of the organisation also face the threat of abduction, with four members being abducted in the last year.