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Afghanistan: ICRC brings medical assistance to Kabul

30-09-2001 News Release 01/35

Geneva (ICRC) – On 29 September a truck from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reached Kabul with a load of standard medical supplies for the war-wounded. The truck had left Peshawar the previous day after receiving authorization to cross into Afghanistan from both the Pakistani and Taliban authorities.

Kits for treating up to 500 war-wounded, which include dressings, medicines, plaster of Paris and chest drains, were among the supplies delivered. Essential blood cross-matching chemical reagents were provided to ICRC-supported hospitals in Kabul to replenish existing stocks, and plans are under way to distribute essential medical assistance to other hospitals in the city.

" Thanks to the daily radio contact that we maintain with our staff in Kabul, we were able to determine what type of material is most urgently needed taking into account the existing stocks, " said Robert Monin, ICRC Head of Delegation in Afghanistan, who is currently based in neighbouring Pakistan.

Deliveries were also made to ICRC-supported first-aid posts outside Kabul on the basis of needs assessments carried out by the organization’s staff still working in the country.

The ICRC team that arrived from Peshawar spent a night in Jalalabad to ensure proper handling of the chemical reagents.

" It is very encouraging to have completed this first trip back into Afghanistan, " said Monin. " We hope to be able to carry out such cross-border trips to Kabul and other cities on a regular basis by entering from neighbouring countries where we are currently pre-positioning essential relief supplies to meet the needs of t he Afghan population. "

For the time being expatriate ICRC staff are not authorized to re-enter the country, but conversations continue with the authorities on this critical issue.

" Getting our expatriate team back into the country to support our 1,000 Afghan colleagues in these extremely difficult circumstances is of course one of our primary goals, " added Monin.

Meanwhile, ICRC teams already in place in border areas of Iran and Turkmenistan are ready to provide whatever humanitarian assistance may be required.