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Afghanistan: ICRC deeply concerned about failure to respect basic humanitarian principles

11-08-1997 News Release 97/23

The ongoing fighting between the Northern Coalition and the Taliban in northern Afghanistan has prompted a major humanitarian alert and a marked increase in the emergency response of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The ICRC wishes to remind all parties involved of their obligation to ensure respect for and protection of the civilian population, the wounded, and persons captured and detained in connection with the conflict.

Since May 1997, in accordance with its mandate, the ICRC has had access to and registered some 3,400 detained combatants and civilians. However, despite repeated representations, the organization has been consistently refused access to an estimated 3,000 additional detainees held mainly in Faryab, Jowzian and Balkh provinces. The ICRC deplores this failure to comply with humanitarian principles and solemnly appeals to the relevant authorities in the north to respect their commitments and facilitate access to all places of detention under their control.