A statement on Afghanistan from Robert Mardini, the director-general of the International Committee of the Red Cross
The ICRC is relieved to see Kabul avoid what could have been devastating urban warfare, but we remain mindful of the thousands of civilians wounded and displaced in recent fighting in other urban centres. The ICRC is determined to stand by the Afghan people and help men, women and children cope with the unfolding situation.
Afghanistan is in the middle of a transition that is difficult for Afghans, and for us, to predict the outcome of. But we know that humanitarian needs will remain high. Since 1 August, more than 7,600 patients wounded by weapons have been treated at ICRC-supported facilities around the country. More than 40,000 people wounded by weapons have been treated at ICRC-supported facilities in June, July and August.
Our medical teams and physical rehabilitation centres expect to receive patients for months and years to come as they recover from wounds from explosive devices that litter the country, many of them newly laid in recent weeks. It is heartbreaking to see our wards filled with children and young men and women who have lost limbs.
The humanitarian needs in Afghanistan have been high for too long, and those needs, especially in recent years, have not always been met completely. The ICRC currently has a funding shortfall of about 30 million Swiss francs ($33 million), out of a budget of approximately 79 million Swiss francs ($86 million). We appeal to donors for immediate additional funding to support our work, including in the medical field and at our physical rehabilitation centres.
The International Committee of the Red Cross has been present in Afghanistan since 1987. ICRC staff have worked to protect and assist those in need in Taliban-controlled areas for years and we have open channels with local and high-level leaders. We will continue to work hand in hand with the Afghan Red Crescent Society to help those whose lives have been scarred by war.
- Robert Mardini, Director-General of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva
A video statement by Robert Mardini is available for use on our newsroom here.
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