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Afghanistan: ICRC calls on all parties to protect civilians

02-10-1997 News Release 97/27

Geneva (ICRC) - Following the renewed outbreak of fierce hostilities in and around Mazar-i-Sharif,  the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is extremely concerned about the plight of the civilian population, which has been trapped in continuous fighting, including aerial bombardments and heavy shelling, for the past 48 hours.

To keep further casualties to a minimum, the ICRC appeals to all warring parties to respect and protect civilians and to refrain from launching indiscriminate attacks. It urges them to protect hospitals, medical personnel and all humanitarian aid workers. It further enjoins them to ensure that persons captured and detained are treated humanely.

According to two ICRC delegates still present in the city, the main military hospital admitted 160 war-wounded between yesterday and today, 70 % of them civilians. The ICRC has been providing this hospital with daily assistance for over a month, thus enabling the facility to treat the ever growing number of wounded people. It is also supplying the population with drinking water as security conditions permit.