Daily Mail, June 12, 2007


Red Cross accuses coalition of failing Afghan civilians

Billions of pounds in aid is being poured into the war-ravaged country. But for many civilians the situation is getting worse, the ICRC says.

Britain and America have been accused of failing to do enough to protect civilians in war-torn Afghanistan.

The International Committee of the Red Cross warned that civilians were suffering unbearably as violence has escalated in the last year.

The organisation criticised aerial bombings by Nato, as well as roadside bombs and suicide attacks by the Taliban and insurgents linked to al Qaeda.

a man shouts anti-American slogans after the attack
An Afghan man stands near two dead bodies of Afghan civilians who were killed by American soldiers after a car bombing on an American convoy in Barayekab in Nangarhar province eastern Afghanistan, Sunday, March 4, 2007. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

Red Cross director of operations Pierre Kraehenbuhl said: "There's been intensification of the fighting - it has spread to new parts of the country, so it's no longer confined to the south.

"It's really had a heavy price, both in terms of wounded and in terms of killed and people displaced. It's a very worrying situation."

On its 20th anniversary in Afghanistan, the ICRC said that thousands of people have fled their homes in the south of the country where British troops are fighting the Taliban, which was ousted from Kabul more than five years ago.

Increasing numbers of people are being detained by Afghan or Nato forces, with Red Cross staff making more and more prison visits.

Aid workers are also stepping up provision of medical assistance to people who have suffered war wounds.

Billions of pounds in aid is being poured into the war-ravaged country. But for many civilians the situation is getting worse, the ICRC says.

US Marines fleeing a militant ambush opened fire on civilian cars and pedestrians on a busy highway in eastern Afghanistan, wounded Afghans said. Up to 16 people were killed and 34 wounded in the violence. Najib said, adding that his 2-year-old brother was grazed by a bullet on his cheek. "I saw them turning and firing in this direction, then turning and firing in that direction. I even saw a farmer shot by the Americans." (AP, March 4, 2007)
AP, March 4, 2007

Afghanistan's president Hamid Karzai narrowly escaped an assassination attempt at the weekend in the central Ghazni province in an attack which the United Nations condemned as an "outrage".

Incoming Prime Minister Gordon Brown is coming under pressure to pull British troops out of Iraq and shift the military focus on to Afghanistan in the battle against terrorism.

The British death toll in Afghanistan since the start of military action in November 2001 rose to 60 after Guardsman Neil "Tony" Downes died from injuries sustained in an explosion in Helmand province at the weekend.

Thirty-seven British troops have been killed in action or died from injuries suffered in fighting, while 23 have died in accidents, from illness or from non-combat injuries.

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