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Outgoing ICRC Chief Says Conflict For Afghan Civilians Is At Worst

Men assist fellow Afghans injured in a bomb blast as they arrive at a hospital in Jalalabad in September.
The outgoing head of the delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Afghanistan, Reto Stocker, has said the conflict in the country has taken a turn for the worse for ordinary Afghans.

Stocker said in a statement that during his seven-year work in that country, local armed groups have proliferated and civilians have been caught in multiple front lines.

"It has become increasingly difficult for ordinary Afghans to obtain health care," Stocker said.

The ICRC has been working in Afghanistan since 1979.

The country is the site of the organization's largest humanitarian operation, with more than 1,800 staff members.

The ICRC statement follows a report by the International Crisis Group on October 7 warning that Afghanistan is moving toward a potentially devastating political crisis as NATO-led combat forces withdraw and the Afghan government prepares to take control of security responsibilities in 2014.

With reporting by dpa and RFE/RL