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Afghanistan: first ICRC visit to detainees in Taliban custody

15-12-2009 News Release 09/251

Kabul/Geneva (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has carried out two visits to three members of the Afghan security forces detained by the Taliban in Badghis province, north-western Afghanistan.

The visits took place at the end of November.

" This is the first time since the beginning of the current conflict that the ICRC has visited people detained by the armed opposition, " said Reto Stocker, ICRC head of delegation in Kabul. " We welcome this breakthrough. We plan to conduct and repeat visits in other regions, and hope to visit people held by other armed opposition groups, with the aim of ensuring that everyone detained in relation to the armed conflict is treated humanely.''

The ICRC regularly visits people held in connection with the conflict to assess their conditions of detention and treatment. It then shares its findings, recommendations and concerns with the detaining parties on a strictly confidential basis, to ensure humane treatment. The ICRC also facilitates the exchange of family news between detainees and their relatives.

" International humanitarian law grants the same protection to everyone held in connection with the armed conflict, whether the detaining party is the international or Afghan security forces or the armed opposition, " explained Mr Stocker.

The ICRC currently visits 136 places of detention in Afghanistan and has registered over 16,000 persons since the beginning of the current conflict in 2001.

The ICRC is a neutral and independent humanitarian organization protecting and assisting people affected by armed conflict and other situations of violence. It has been active in Afghanistan since 1979.

  For further details, please contact:
  Bijan Farnoudi, ICRC Kabul, tel: +93 700 282 719
  Carla Haddad Mardini, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 24 05 or +41 79 217 32 26