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Afghanistan: ICRC activities January to June 2007

02-08-2007 Operational Update

Afghanistan is one of the ICRC's largest operations worldwide with more than 1,100 national and expatriate staff involved in a wide range of activities on behalf of people affected by conflict. The following is an update of ICRC activities for the period January to June 2007.

The ICRC has been present in Afghanistan since 1987. Its main delegation is in Kabul, with sub-delegations in Herat, Kandahar, Mazar-i-Sharif and Jalalabad. There are ICRC offices in Gulbahar, Faizabad and Bamyan.


According to its international mandate, the ICRC visits detainees held as a result of conflict by the Afghan authorities and international forces such as US and NATO to regularly assess the conditions of detention, the treatment of detainees and respect of their fundamental judicial guarantees. The ICRC facilitates contacts with their families through the exchange of Red Cross Messages (RCMs).


Between January and June 2007, ICRC protection teams:

  • visited 68 places of detention, which were holding a total of 9,356 detainees. They followed up individually 1,477 persons arrested in relation with the conflict or the security situation, of whom 660 were visited for the first time and registered;

  • provided assistance to 154 released detainees to travel home.

Restoring family links 

Working closely with the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS), the ICRC continued to exchange RCMs and helped families trace relatives with whom they had lost contact.


Between January and June 2007, ICRC protection teams:

  • collected and distributed more than 13,000 RCMs with the close collaboration of the ARCS, out of which around 50%   were exchanged with detainees.

Rehabilitation for the disabled 

Since 1988, the ICRC has been involved in orthopedic and rehabilitation assistance to disabled people, from landmine victims to those with motor impairment from other causes. Opportunities for their social reintegration have been provided as well once the physical rehabilitation is completed. During that time, around 78,200 patients (including more than 32,300 amputees) have been registered and assisted.


Currently, the ICRC runs six orthopaedic centres in Kabul, Mazar, Herat, Gulbahar, Faizabad and Jalalabad. In these locations a home care service for spinal cord injured patients has been set up to offer paraplegics and their families'medical, economic and social support.


Between January and June 2007 , the six orthopaedic centres:

  • registered over 2,700 new patients and made about 6,900 prostheses and orthoses;

  • provided around 74,700 physiother apy treatments;

  • granted micro credit loans to 327 patients to start their own business ventures, while 119 were trained in various jobs;

  • assisted almost 1,200 spinal cord injured patients. In Kabul only, more than 1,300   homecare visits were carried out.

Mine action 

The ICRC supports the ARCS in its objective of preventing injuries and fatalities caused by mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW), by gathering information on the cause of accidents and the location of mines/ERW. This information is shared with demining agencies. ARCS, promotes safe behaviour through mine risk education (MRE) sessions among the communities at risk.


Between January and May 2007 , mine action teams:

  • held 7,900 Mine Risk Education sessions in around 2,000 locations, for more than 66,900 adults and 13,400 children;

Health Care 

The ICRC supports three hospitals (JPHH1 in Jalalabad, Mirwais in Kandahar and Sheberghan Hospital in Jawzjan). The objective of ICRC support is to maintain the capacity to provide essential and quality surgical services to victims affected by the conflict or other emergencies. In Kandahar, the ICRC has begun special collaboration with MOPH to implement the Essential Package of Hospital Services covering the entire hospital

Between January and June 2007, the hospitals regularly assisted by the ICRC:

  • provided services to almost 17,700 in-patients and 86,000 outpatients

  • performed around 9,000 operations

In addition, the ICRC provided ad hoc medical supplies to Herat and Jamhoryat Kabul Hospitals.

The ICRC provided supplies, financial support and supervision to eight ARCS clinics in the east and south of Afghanistan. In the above-mentioned period, these facilities gave 40,000   consultations, received 2,400 visits for maternal health care and provided vaccinations to 36,800 women and children.

Water and Habitat 

One of the ICRC's core tasks is to maintain access to drinking water for populations affected by conflict. The disruption and destruction of water structures and distribution systems can have disastrous health consequences. In Afghanistan, the ICRC's work includes re-establishing urban and rural water networks, sanitation projects and rehabilitation work in hospitals. Hygiene promotion and environmental health training are part of this programme.


Between January and June 2007 , ICRC teams

  • worked on an extension of the water system in Kabul covering 10,000   beneficiaries;

  • worked on seven water supply projects in Bamyan, Herat, Jalalabad, Mazar and   Kandahar for over 86,000 beneficiaries;

  • worked on drainage & sanitation systems to improve the environmental health   situation in Kabul Herat, Jalalabad and Kandaha r;

  • continued to ensure basic water and sanitation   conditions   in seven detention facilities in Kabul, Herat, Jalalabad, Kandahar and Mazar;

  • conducted presentations on   hygiene promotion sessions to more than 18,900   people in public places (mosques, community forums...);

  • visited more than 2,800 households   providing education and practical advices on hygiene;

  • continued to maintain the general infrastructure of the Jalalabad, Mazar Shibergan and Kandahar Mirwais Hospitals.

Promotion of international humanitarian law (IHL) 

The ICRC's humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of war and prevent suffering by promoting and strengthening compliance with IHL.

Between January and June 2007 , dissemination teams organized:    


  • 92 dissemination sessions for 2,300   members of provincial authorities, staff and volunteers of Afghan Red Crescent Society, community elders, religious circles, journalists, university students and other members of civil society;

  • Two four day Law of Armed Conflict workshops for 50 ANA officers,   seven   sessions, 11 meetings and two   briefing   were conducted with 405   officers of the   Afghan National Army, international mentors and legal advisors working in the training field for ANA.

Emergency Assistance (EcoSec) 

The ICRC, as a rapid response organization, provides emergency food and non-food items to people in crisis, including those displaced by fighting and living without shelter as well as those severely affected by natural disasters. Emergency assistance is most often distributed to beneficiaries in collaboration with the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS).

Between January and June 2007:    


  • Food kits (including rice, beans, ghee, salt, sugar and tea) and non-food kits   (including tarpaulins, jerry cans, blankets, kitchen sets and soap) were distributed to 4,000 displaced families (30,000 individuals) in Kandahar, Uruzgan, Zabul and Helmand provinces of Southern Afghanistan through the Afghan Red Crescent Society, affected by recent conflict and flood.

Cooperation with the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) 

The ICRC, as part of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, assists the ARCS technically and financially to build its capacity to deliver various programmes and services to the community. 

Between January and June 2007, the ICRC Cooperation:

  • supported 350 trainees and their 174   trainers in the Vocational Training Programme (VTP);

  • completed 32 Food for Work (FFW) projects, benefiting approximately 16,800   families;

  • supported five dissemination training sessions for 50 ARCS dissemination staff;

  • supported around 7,000   dissemination sessions given by 30 volunteers for about 7,600   persons coming to ARCS health clinics for their treatment;

  • provided more than 6,000   first aid material kits to 5,500   ARCS volunteers.

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