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More Must Be Done To Protect Afghan Civilians, Red Cross Says


An Afghan man holds his child, who was injured in an air strike by U.S.-led coalition forces in July 2008.

An Afghan man holds his child, who was injured in an air strike by U.S.-led coalition forces in July 2008.

All sides in the war in Afghanistan must do much more to protect civilians who will face the brunt of any increase in violence with the arrival of thousands of new troops.

Ordinary Afghans are now more at risk from the fighting than at any other time since the start of the war in 2001, says Pierre Kraehenbuehl, director of operations for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Unless much more is done by the different parties to the conflict to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, Kraehenbuehl says, "the ICRC seriously fears that the Afghan population will bear the brunt of the announced and potential escalation."

Violence in Afghanistan surged last year with some 5,000 people killed, including more than 2,100 civilians, a 40 percent increase on the previous year, the United Nations says.

Read more of the Reuters story here.

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