Afghanistan and related operations
26-09-2001 Operational Update
Set up for ICRC Afghanistan
Due to security reasons and for co-ordination purposes (most of the UN agencies, NGO's, embassies and media are based in Islamabad), ICRC's support staff for Afghanistan will be temporarily based mainly in Islamabad, Pakistan.
A total of 27 expatriates remain assigned to the Afghanistan operation. Located in different places, they are preparing and co-ordinating plans and activities with the other humanitarian actors and government representatives. They stand ready to support any eventual intervention directly in Afghanistan or other bordering countries.
The office in Peshawar will remain open for logistic purposes.
Ongoing activities in Afghanistan
In the Afghan area held by the Northern Alliance, where security conditions are currently stable, the ICRC continues with the implementation of its programs. The two orthopaedic centres located in Faizabad and Gulbahar are functioning. Medical supplies are delivered to the main hospital in Gulbahar. Rehabilitation of basic infrastructures such as sewage systems and hand pumps are ongoing. Two ICRC expatriate delegates remain in Faizabad co-ordinating the activities.
Support to hospitals and health facilities throughout the area controlled by the Taliban authorities continues. Stocks of medici ne and medical equipment are available for another two to three weeks. The four orthopaedic centres in the area continue functioning. Food is being distributed to orphanages in Kabul and it is foreseen to also distribute food to hospitals in Kabul as well as displaced persons in Herat where latest reports indicated that at least 200.000 persons are living in shelters around the area. The water and sanitation teams in Kabul continue repairing wells throughout the city.
Preparations for further assistance
Daily conversations (either by radio or satellite phone) continue to be held from Pakistan with the different ICRC offices located in the Taliban held area, except for ICRC staff in Mazar and Jalalabad, with whom no contacts have been possible for the last couple of days. Latest reports from ICRC colleagues in Afghanistan indicate that offices, material and stocks haven't suffered any damages.
In order to establish storage facilities and supply lines to assist the population in Afghanistan, ICRC experts continue assessing the possibilities in Pakistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Co-ordination meetings with the Iranian Red Crescent Society are taking place as well as with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies who is supporting other National Societies in the region in their effort to assist Afghan refugees.
A plan of action to preposition stocks throughout the region has been agreed on and will soon begin to be implemented. More details on this to follow shortly.
Regular contacts are maintained with the authorities in Afghanistan, neighbouring countries and other countries potentially involved in the crisis, so as to ensure that communication with ICRC colleagues within Afghanistan are facilitated and that the activities may be pursued safely and efficiently.
Concern for the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan is increasing. The ICRC hopes to have immediate possibilities to ship much needed material into the country and to send expatriate delegates on short-term missions, so as to have in-depth knowledge of the current humanitarian situation.