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Afghanistan: ICRC activities January to September 2007

18-10-2007 Operational Update

Afghanistan is one of the ICRC's largest operations worldwide with more than 1,200 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 September 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 contact with their families through the exchange of Red Cross Messages (RCMs).

Between January and September 2007, ICRC protection teams:

  • visited 71 places of detention, which were holding a total of 9,263 detainees. They followed up individually with 2,415 people arrested in relation to the conflict or the security situation, of whom 1,273 were visited for the first time and registered;

  • provided assistance to 251 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 September 2007, ICRC protection teams:

  • in close collaboration with the ARCS, collect ed and distributed more than 20,000 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 79,800 patients (including more than 32,500 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 September 2007, the six orthopaedic centres:

  • registered over 4,300 new patients and made more than 10,600 prostheses and orthoses;

  • provided approximately 119,190 physiotherapy treatments;

  • granted microcredit loans to 465 patients to start their own business ventures, while 201 were trained in various jobs;

  • assisted over 1,200 spinal cord injured patients. In Kabul only, more than 2,100 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 l ocation 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 September 2007, mine action teams:

  • held over 13,600 Mine Risk Education sessions in 3,769 locations, for more than 106,200 adults and 233,800 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 August 2007, the hospitals regularly assisted by the ICRC:

  • provided services to almost 24,000 in-patients and 115,000 outpatients;

  • performed approximately 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 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 projects and rehabilitation work in hospitals. Hygiene promotion and environmental health training are part of this programme.

Between January and September 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 34,000 people in public places (mosques, community forums, hammams...);

  • visited more than 5,000 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 September 2007, dissemination teams organized:

  • 156 IHL dissemination sessions for nearly 4,700 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, 21 LoAC sessions for troops, 17 meetings and two briefings were conducted with 464 ANA officers, international mentors and legal advisors working in the field of training for the ANA;

  • 10 LoAC sessions for 348 officers, sergeants and soldiers from the ANA and Afghan National Police.

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 September 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 5,400 displaced families (39,500 individuals) affected by conflict and floods in Kandahar, Uruzgan, Zabul and Helmand provinces of Southern Afghanis tan 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 September 2007, the ICRC cooperation:

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

  • completed 172 Food for Work (FFW) projects, benefiting approximately 62,500 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 15,300 first aid material kits to 7,115 ARCS volunteers.

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