30-05-2013 | Middle East

ICRC strongly condems attack on its Afghanistan office

ENG

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) strongly condemns an attack on its office in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, by unidentified armed men.

“It is a brutal despicable and senseless attack against an organization that has been present in Afghanistan for the last 30 years," said Jacques De Maio, ICRC’s head of operations for South Asia.  "There isn't a single Afghan that wouldn’t recognize the fact that we are strictly independent and humanitarian in what we do.  So there is a lot of incomprehension about why four people would actually kill themselves to attack an unprotected structure of a strictly humanitarian organization like ours."

One staff member, an Afghan guard, was killed and three others slightly wounded, an expatriate and national colleagues. All other staff are safe and well. 

"Our thoughts go to the family of Abdul Bashir Khan,   He had been working for 10 years with the ICRC," explained Maio.  "He’s father to eight children and he’s dead.  He was unarmed and defenseless.  He was protecting a compound from where I can tell you hundreds of thousands of Afghans were getting valuable services and he is no more and we are very sad about this."

All ICRC movements have been frozen throughout Afghanistan.  "There is not a single ICRC delegate or employee who is taking the roads today in Afghanistan," stated De Maio.  "Our sub delegation in Jalalabad has been closed.“

"These attacks and the quality of these attacks compel us precisely to redefine the level of danger there is for humanitarian players and for us to operate in the area," says De Maio.  "We are reconnecting with the government.  We are reconnecting with the armed opposition as well to try and determine exactly what happened and why.  It was clearly a planned attack with a level of organization and means that rule out a kind of isolated incident by some individual."

In Afghanistan, the ICRC assists civilians affected by the conflict, works to prevent violations of international humanitarian law and protects detainees. The ICRC also assists the wounded and disabled, supports hospital care, improves water and sanitation services and reconnects families separate by the conflict.

ICRC in Afghanistan: Facts and Figures

From January to March 2013, the ICRC:

  • Mirwais and Sheberghan Hospitals - admitted 7,785 inpatients and held 41,790 outpatient consultations between them. In total, the two hospitals carried out 2,240 operations;
  • registered 2,160 new patients, including 291 amputees, at ICRC's seven physical rehabilitation centres;
  • distributed one-month food rations and household items to more than 755 families displaced by conflict and natural disaster;
  • briefed nearly 7,750 arms bearers, members of civil society, and beneficiaries of ICRC programmes on the mandate and work of the ICRC.
  • visited 1,100 detainees, 260 of them for the first time, and helped eight ex-detainees return home;
  • carried out hygiene-promotion sessions for guards and detainees in detention places in Herat and Kandahar, through which almost 2,600 people will benefit.

 

Shotlist

Location: Geneva, Switzerland
Length: 2:56
Format: Mpeg2 / 16:9 anamorphic / SD
Production: Claire Doole
Camera: Nicola Fell
Sound: English
ICRC ref: AV087N Afghan Attack
Date: 30 May 2013 

Copyright: ICRC access all

ICRC HQ, Geneva, Switzerland 

SOUNDBITE Jacques De Maio, the ICRC’s head of operations for South Asia (in English):

0:00 Our thoughts go really to the family of Abdul Bashir Khan.  He had been working for 10 years with the ICRC.  He’s father to eight children and he’s dead.  He was unarmed and defenseless.  He was protecting a compound from where I can tell you hundreds of thousands of Afghans were getting valuable services and he is no more and we are very sad about this.

0:27 Yesterday in the afternoon four men, two wearing suicide vests attacked the ICRC compound in Jalalabad, which is the capital city of the Nangarhar province in the eastern part of the country and the outcome was the death of one of our colleagues, an Afghan.  Two hours later, the attackers were dead and all our people were regrouped.

1:06 ICRC flag at half mast

1:11 It is a brutal despicable and frankly from our viewpoint senseless attack against an organization that has been present in Afghanistan for the last 30 years.  There isn't a single Afghan that wouldn’t recognize the fact that we are strictly independent and humanitarian in what we do.  So there is a lot of incomprehension about why 4 people would actually kill themselves to attack an unprotected structure of a strictly humanitarian organization like ours.

1:49 All movements have been frozen throughout Afghanistan.  There is not a single ICRC delegate or employee who is taking the roads today in Afghanistan.  Our sub delegation in Jalalabad has been closed. 

2:04 So we are reconnecting with the government.  We are reconnecting with the armed opposition as well to try and determine exactly what happened and why.

2:14 It was clearly a planned attack with a level of organization and means that rules out a kind of isolated incident by some individual.

2:26 It has always been dangerous to be a humanitarian operator in Afghanistan.  There is a long series of very serious incidences.  We have also paid the price of blood in Afghanistan in the past.  It has been dangerous.  It is dangerous.  And these attacks and the quality of these attacks compel us precisely to redefine the level of danger there is for humanitarian players and for us to operate in the area.

2:56 END

Duration : 2m 49s
Size : 213.9 MB
On Screen Credit: ICRC or logo

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