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Afghanistan: ICRC activities January to October 2007

13-11-2007 Operational Update

Afghanistan remains one of the ICRC's biggest operations with more than 1,200 national and expatriate staff active on behalf of those affected by war. The main ICRC delegation is located in Kabul. Other ICRC offices are in Herat, Kandahar, Mazar-i-Sharif, Jalalabad, Gulbahar, Faizabad and Bamyan.



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

Between January and October 2007, ICRC teams:

  • visited 73 places of detention which were holding a total of 10,387 detainees. They followed up individually 2,647 people arrested in relation to the conflict or the security situation, of whom 1,374 were visited for the first time and registered.

  • provided assistance to 271 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 October 2007, ICRC and ARCS teams

  • collected and distributed more than 22,000 RCMs, the vast majority of which were exchanged between detainees and their families

Rehabilitation for the disabled 

Since 1988, the ICRC has been involved in orthopaedic 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, over 80,000 patients (including more than 32,600 amputees) have been registered and assisted.

The ICRC currently 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 October 2007, the six orthopaedic centres:

  • registered over 4,800 new patients and made more than 11,700 prostheses and orthoses;

  • provided around 130,000 physiotherapy treatments;

  • granted microcredit loans to 524 patients to start their own business ventures, while 218 were trained in various jobs;

  • assisted over 1,200 spinal cord injured patients. In Kabul only, more than 2,200 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. The ARCS promotes safe behaviour through mine risk education (MRE) sessions among the communities at risk.

Between January and October 2007, mine action teams:

  • held over 14,500 Mine Risk Education sessions in 3,872 locations, for more than 114,000 adults and 247, 000 children.


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 September 2007, the hospitals regularly assisted by the ICRC:

  • provided services to more than 36,000 in-patients and 130,000 outpatients;

  • performed more than 14,000 operations.

In addition, the ICRC provided ad hoc medical supplies to hospitals in Kabul and other parts of the country.

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 almost 53,000 consultations and provided vaccinations to over 47,000 women and children.

The ICRC also provided on an ad hoc basis emergency medical assistance to war wounded

victims in remote areas of the country, where medical help is not otherwise available.

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 pr ojects and rehabilitation work in hospitals. Hygiene promotion and environmental health training are part of this programme.

Between January and October 2007, ICRC teams:

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

  • worked on seven ongoing water supply projects in Herat, Jalalabad, Mazar and Kandahar and 11 minor projects in Bamyan for over 90,000 beneficiaries;

  • completed seven other water projects in Bamyan, 150 latrines in Kandahar and one water supply project in Mazar;

  • worked on drainage & sanitation systems to improve the environmental health situation in the poorest urban neighbourhoods of Kabul, Herat, Jalalabad and Kandahar;

  • continued to ensure basic water and sanitation conditions in 15 detention facilities in Kabul, Faizabad, Parwan, Takhar, Kundoz, Baghlan, Samanghan, Mazar, Seripul, Sheberghan, Maimana, Herat, Jalalabad, Wardak and Kandahar;

  • constructed a clinic for Jalalabad Central Prison (CP), a water system for Maimana CP, latrines and a septic tank for Kundoz and Cherikar CPs, and a well in Seripul CP;

  • conducted presentations on hygiene promotion sessions to more than 35,000 people in public places (mosques, community forums, hammams...);

  • visited more than 5,700 households, providing education and practical advice 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 October 2007, dissemination teams organized:

  • 169 IHL dissemination sessions for over 5,100 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 (LoAC) workshops for 50 Afghan National Army (ANA) officers, 14 LoAC sessions for 642 officers, sergeants and soldiers, 3 briefings to ANA officers, international mentors and legal advisors working in the field of training for the 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 October 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 over 5,600 displaced families (more than 40,000 individuals) affected by conflict and floods in Kandahar, Uruzgan, Zabul and Helmand provinces of Southern Afghanistan through the Afghan Red Crescent Society.

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 October 2 007, the ICRC:

  • supported over 1,500 trainees and their 754 trainers in the Vocational Training Programme (VTP);

  • completed 199 Food for Work (FFW) projects, benefiting more than 84,000 families;

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

  • supported over 10,600 dissemination sessions given by 30 volunteers for about 106,500 people coming to ARCS health clinics for their treatment;

  • provided more than 15,500 first aid material kits to 7,213 ARCS volunteers.

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