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Afghanistan: escalation of indiscriminate shelling in Kabul

01-02-1995 News Release 5

After several weeks of relative calm in Kabul, exceptionally heavy shelling resumed, causing many casualties among the city's population. In the densely populated district of Khair Khana alone, 98 wounded, 11 of whom subsequently died, were admitted to the two nearest hospitals during the night of 28 January. The following day, the Karte Seh hospital, one of the Afghan capital's main surgical centres, was hit by a mortar shell. Five of the hospital staff were seriously wounded by shrapnel, and one of them, an ambulance driver, died of his injuries.

Artillery fire on the city has increased, affecting several densely populated districts such as Khair Khana and Bagi Zanana, where many displaced people have taken refuge. Over the last fortnight, the number of war wounded admitted to Kabul's 10 main hospitals has risen from 283 to 385 a week. According to figures available to the ICRC, 89% of the victims of recent shelling were civilians, more than one third of them children.

In the face of this escalation, the ICRC has made representations to the belligerents and, in a document detailing the latest incidents and stressing their effects from the humanitarian standpoint, it has appealed to the leaders of the parties concerned to make every effort to spare civilians and their property.