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ICRC To Withdraw Some Staff Following Afghan Attack


The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is withdrawing some international staff from Afghanistan following last week's attack on their compound in the eastern city of Jalalabad.

Robin Waudo, ICRC communications coordinator in Kabul, did not say how many staff members will be pulled out.

He told Reuters on June 4 that the pullout would mean suspending some of the humanitarian group's operations in the country.

"Following this attack last Wednesday [May 29] on our office in Jalalabad, we are going to take some measures that affect the operations," Waudo said. "First and foremost, we need to remove some of the international staff from the country for security concerns. This will obviously affect...the operations, so we have to put some activities on hold."
Disabled Afghans on June 2 protested against the attack on the office of International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) in Jalalabad, urging all sides to seek reconciliation.

Disabled Afghans on June 2 protested against the attack on the office of International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) in Jalalabad, urging all sides to seek reconciliation.


One Afghan guard was killed and three people, including one international staff member, were injured when suicide bombers and gunmen attacked the Jalalabad compound on May 29.

It was the first attack on the Red Cross in Afghanistan since it began work there in 1987. The ICRC is one of the world's most prominent agencies providing humanitarian assistance to those affected by conflicts around the world.

The ICRC spokesman said the group would continue to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, but also had to consider the security of its staff.

"We are concerned that if we do not take out some people we are very much vulnerable and exposed, especially because we work with the armed opposition, different groups and we talk to them about our work and activities," Waudo said. "Now we are also surprised that this attack has taken place, so we should be able to get the space and the time to do this that is why we need to send some of the staff out."

The Taliban has denied any involvement in the attack.

The ICRC's $90 million-a-year operation in Afghanistan is one of its biggest, with some 1,800 staff members working in 17 offices around the country.

Based on reporting by Reuters
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