Afghanistan: ICRC facilitates release of 10 Afghan National Security Forces detainees

21 November 2019

Kabul/Geneva (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Thursday facilitated the release of 10 Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) members detained by the Taliban in relation to the armed conflict in Afghanistan.

"The 10 Afghan National Security Forces members were released and handed over to the ICRC in Helmand Province, in the District of Nahr-e Saraj," said Juan Pedro Schaerer, the ICRC's head of delegation in Afghanistan. "We transferred them across the frontline to Lashkar Gah where we handed them over to the Afghan authorities at the governor's office," he added.

As a neutral, impartial, and independent humanitarian organisation, the ICRC facilitated the transfer of the released detainees upon the request of the parties to the conflict. "The role of the ICRC was strictly limited to facilitating the physical transfer of released prisoners; the ICRC was not involved in any negotiations that preceded the release and was involved upon the explicit request of both parties to the conflict," said Schaerer.

The ICRC has been working in Afghanistan since 1979. Its humanitarian interventions include: supporting the provision of health services including limb-fitting and physical rehabilitation for persons with disabilities; visiting detainees to monitor their conditions of detention and treatment, and to facilitate contact with their families; improving access to clean water; and promoting international humanitarian law for the protection of the civilian population and people not taking part in the conflict.