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Afghanistan: ICRC activities January to March 2007

19-04-2007 Operational Update

With a total of sixty delegates and 1,000 national staff, Afghanistan remains one of the ICRC 's biggest operations worldwide. The following is an update of ICRC activities for the period January to March 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.


The following describes the ICRC's operations between January and March 2007 on behalf of those affected by the conflict in Afghanistan.


According to its international mandate, the ICRC visits detainees held as a result of armed conflict and other situations of violence being held by the Afghan authorities and forces such as the United States and NATO. Delegates 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 March 2007, ICRC protection teams:

  • visited 34 places of detention holding a total of 6,955 detainees. They followed up individually 810 persons arrested in relation with the conflict or the security situation, of whom 232 were visited for the first time and registered;

  • provided assistance to 66 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 March 2007, ICRC protection teams:

  • collected and distributed about 6,000 RCMs with the close collaboration of the ARCS, out of which around 45% 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. Opportunities for their social reintegration have also been provided once physical rehabilitation is completed. During that time, almost 76,700 patients (including more than 32,000 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 the paraplegics and their families'medical, economic and social support.

Between January and March 2007 , six orthopaedic centres:

  • registered over 1,100 new patients and made about 3,000 prostheses and orthoses;

  • provided almost 33,400 physiotherapy treatments;

  • granted micro-credit loans to 161 patients to start their own business ventures, while 61 were trained in various jobs;

  • assisted almost 900 patients with spinal cord injuries. In Kabul alone, more than 500 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. Together with the ARCS, the ICRC also promotes safe behaviour through mine risk education (MRE) sessions with communities at risk. 


Between January and March 2007,   mine action teams:

  • held about 2,600 mine risk education sessions in 750 locations, for more than 24,600 adults and 39,300 children;

Health Care 

The ICRC supports three hospitals (JPHH1 in Jalalabad, Mirwais in Kandahar, and Sheberghan in Jawzjan) with supplies, training and capacity building. The ICRC's objective is to maintain the capacity to provide essential and quality surgical services to victims affected by the conflict or other emergencies.

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

  • provided services to 8,700 in-patients and 40,700 outpatients

  • performed around 4,000 operations

In addition, the ICRC provided ad hoc medical supplies to Herat and Farah Provincial Hospitals.

Since August 2006, the ICRC has provided supplies, financial support and supervision to eight ARCS clinics in the east and south of Afghanistan. From January to March 2007, these facilities gave 20,500 consultations, received 1,300 visits for maternal health care and provided vaccinations to 17,500 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 infrastructure 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 March 2007 , ICRC teams

  • continued to work on an extension of the water system in Kabul covering 8,000   beneficiaries;

  • worked on one water supply project in Herat for over 25,000 beneficiaries;

  • worked on one water supply project in Jalalabad for 10,000   beneficiaries and started the construction of a reservoir for 40,000 beneficiaries;

  • continued one   water supply project in Kandahar   for   15,000   beneficiaries;

  • continued to work on two   water supply projects in Mazar for 29,000 beneficiaries;

  • conducted presentations on   hygiene promotion to more than 8,000   people in four sub-delegations;

  • visited 1,355 households   providing education and practical advices on hygiene;

  • conducted around 300   hygiene promotion sessions   in public places (mosques, community forums).

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 March 2007 , dissemination teams organized:    


  • A total of 46 dissemination sessions for 1,100   members of provincial authorities, staff and volunteers of Afghan Red Crescent Society, community elders, religious circles, journalists and other members of civil society;

  • two workshops and two   sessions for 154   officers of the   Afghan National Army and international mentors 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 March 2007:    


  • food and non-food items were distributed to 1,680 displaced families (13,400 individuals) in Uruzgan and Helmand provinces of Southern Afghanistan affected by recent flooding.

  • A total of 1,200 food kits (including rice, peas, ghee, salt, sugar and tea) and 730 non-food kits   (including tarpaulins, jerry cans, blankets, kitchen sets and soap) were provided to the ARCS for distribution among people affected by flooding in conflict-affected areas. This assistance reached more than 8,400 people.

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 March 2007, the ICRC Cooperation team:

  • supported 566   trainees and their 279 trainers in the Vocational Training Programme (VTP);

  • completed four Food for Work (FFW) projects, benefiting approximately 400 families;

  • supported one dissemination refreshing training session for four ARCS dissemination staff;

  • supported dissemination sessions given by 30 volunteers at health clinics and schools attended by 30,500   people in Kabul and surrounding areas;

  • provided 2,400 first aid material kits to 2,000   ARCS volunteers

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