London: ICRC talks to policy makers about humanitarian situation in Afghanistan

22 December 2011

The ICRC's UK mission recently held an official launch ceremony to celebrate the release of the latest edition of the International Review of the Red Cross on Afghanistan. A panel discussion on Afghanistan in the Houses of Parliament brought together senior figures from civil society and politics.

The panellists discussed the precarious environment in Afghanistan that persists ten years after the launch of Operation Enduring Freedom. The ICRC shared its reading of the humanitarian situation in the field, flanked by the head of Afghan policy at the ministry of defence and the head of the department of war studies at Kings College London. According to ICRC deputy head of region for South Asia, Yann Bonzon: "Despite improvements in the quality of life in certain sectors of the population over the past decade, the security situation in many areas of the country remains alarming. Insecurity and uncertainty have become permanent features of the Afghan landscape." Discussions between panellists and the audience focused on the ethnic make up of the Afghan police and security forces and their ability to provide security throughout the country, the role of neighbouring States and the involvement of the UK given the withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan.

The panel discussion was sponsored by Laura Sandys and moderated by James Arbuthnot, both of them members of parliament. Mr Arbuthnot also gave his own perceptions of Afghanistan from his position as Chair of the parliamentary defence select committee.

The launch of the special Afghanistan number of the Review highlighted the ICRC's willingness to enter into discussions on the process of transition in Afghanistan.

The ICRC mission works with political authorities, civil society and armed forces in the UK to increase awareness of international humanitarian law and humanitarian issues around the world.

For further information, please contact:
Sarah Cotton, ICRC London: +44 7860 41 28 06 or