In all, 2017 was an extremely difficult year for the ICRC in Afghanistan. After 30 years of continuous presence in the country, a series of consecutive attacks on its staff in less than nine months forced the ICRC to suspend and, at a later stage, to reduce part of its activities, particularly in the north of the country. Monica Zanarelli, the head of delegation for the ICRC in Afghanistan, looks back on 2017 and talks about the way forward for the ICRC and its operations in Afghanistan for 2018.
Despite the challenges, and the need to temporarily put on hold some of its activities in order to find ways to limit the exposure of its teams to security risks, in 2017 the ICRC continued assisting people affected by conflict.
Over 139,000 patients received treatment in one of the ICRC's seven rehabilitation centres across the country. More than 62,000 people were hospitalized in one of the ICRC supported health facilities. About 26,000 detainees were visited in order to ensure they are treated humanely and with dignity, and among them, more than 5,000 were able to keep in touch with their families through the ICRC phone calls and family visits programme. Furthermore, 419 people wounded during the war received first aid and were transported to a health facility for treatment. Due to the conflict, 57,000 displaced people received essential basic assistance and over 120,000 people benefitted from the repair of water hand pumps.
In 2018, the ICRC remains committed to the Afghan population, providing the same range of services it has been providing for the past 30 years in Afghanistan, but with a different footprint.