News release

Afghanistan: An appeal for the safe and unconditional release of ICRC staff

Kabul / Geneva (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is calling for the safe and unconditional release of two staff members abducted when their convoy was ambushed on 8 February in Jawzjan province, an attack that resulted in the killing of six ICRC staff members.

"We call on the abductors' sense of humanity and request the immediate, safe and unconditional release of our colleagues," said the head of the ICRC delegation in Afghanistan, Monica Zanarelli. "We also ask that any action that could endanger their lives is avoided. We do not want the agony and heartache of this tragedy to deepen."

We also appeal to all authorities and armed groups operating in the area to do their utmost to secure the safe release of the two ICRC staff members, and to avoid taking any action that could endanger their lives.

The ICRC has been active in Afghanistan for three decades, impartially assisting victims of the conflict with medical care, food assistance, family contacts and the dignified handling of human remains. It is a neutral, impartial and independent organization whose sole mission is strictly humanitarian.

Following the unjustifiable killing of six staff members and the abduction of two others, all ICRC activities in Afghanistan have been put on hold.

For further information, please contact:

Thomas Glass, ICRC Kabul (English), tel: +93 (0) 729 140 510

Ramin Ayaz Ahmad, ICRC Kabul (Dari and Pashto), tel: +93 (0) 794 618 908

Anastasia Isyuk, ICRC Geneva (English), tel: +41 79 251 93 02

Marie-Claire Feghali, ICRC Geneva (English), tel: +41 79 536 92 31