Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Worsening Security Situation In Afghanistan

Thanks to Kiruja the Global security manager at Christian Aid for this article
Worsening Security Situation in Afghanistan
Security situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated alarmingly during the last two months. Also of serious concern is the increasing number of security incidents targeting Aid workers such as the attack on a NGO clinic in Badghis province in April when 5 innocent staff were killed, the RPG attack on a UNCEF vehicle in Mid May killing 2, and the ambush of Actionaid car at the end of last month killing four people. Until recently, Anti Government Elements (AGEs) mainly targeted military forces and the UN, and not so much the NGOs, but we are now noticing a trend whereby NGOs are deliberately targeted.

The table below suggests that the number of aid worker casualties during the last two months is close to 5 times the annual average for 2004 and 2005. (Estimated figures for 2004 were 18 people killed and in 2005 around 25)

Aid workers killed in Afghanistan during the last two months
10 Apr – 10 June 2006

Province Time Casualties

Badghis 10 April 5
Farah Mid May 1
Baghlan Mid May 1
Daikundi End May 4
Jowzjan End May 4
Badakhshan End May 2
Herat End May 2
Balkh June 2

Total 21

To put this into context, during the period 1997-2003; there was an annual average of 22 violent deaths involving aid workers worldwide. In Afghanistan, it was been the case that insurgents up their operations from spring when routes become accessible, but this year is so far the worst. Most of the NGO casualties have been national staff. A probable explanation for the rise of NGOs casualties is the heightened level of insurgency in the country and the fact that NGOs remain the softer target; UN agencies increased protection by ‘hardening targets' (erecting outer compound walls, requiring two vehicles for field missions, etc while NGOs are still heavily reliant on acceptance strategy - for the Afghanistan context, investing on image and acceptance alone is clearly not enough; one has to consider protective measures as well. According to a BBC report, around 900 people have been killed in the Afghan insurgency since the beginning of the year, with half of that total dying in May. (Mainly in the south of the country) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/5036246.stm

It is believed that killings will continue for some time

13 June 2006


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