Afghanistan: Taliban withdraws security guarantee for Red Crescent staff


KABUL (TCA) — The Taliban says it has withdrawn from a security agreement with the International Committee of the Red Crescent (ICRC) that guarantees safety for the international organization’s workers across Afghanistan, RFE/RL reports.

In a statement on August 15, the Taliban accused the ICRC of failing to meet its obligations to help Taliban prisoners who are on hunger strike in Kabul’s main prison.

ICRC spokeswoman Andrea Catta Preta said the group was in contact with the militants and was hoping to find a solution so its humanitarian work in the country could continue.

Taliban militants held at Kabul’s Pole-e Charkhi prison, the largest prison in Afghanistan, have been on hunger strike to demand better prison conditions.

In its statement, the Taliban claimed many have fallen into comas, and that the ICRC did not provide them with any medical or legal support.

The militant group said it would restore the security agreement only after the ICRC takes steps “to correct their actions.”

The ICRC has been active in Afghanistan since 1980.

The organization currently has about 1,600 staffers in the country who monitor detention conditions and provide medical aid to communities in need.

The ICRC scaled down its presence in Afghanistan in 2017 after seven employees were shot dead in the northern province of Jawzjan.

There was no claim of responsibility for that attack.

Sergey Kwan