Two reports paint bleak Afghan picture

Oct. 8, 2012 at 12:40 PM

KABUL, Afghanistan, Oct. 8 (UPI) -- The crisis for the Afghan people extends beyond threats posed by international military conflict, the departing head of the ICRC's mission there said.

Reto Stocker, the departing head of mission for the International Committee of the Red Cross, said the situation for the people of Afghanistan has taken a turn for the worse as international conflict there enters its 11th year.

"I am filled with concern as I leave this country," he said in a statement. "Hardship arising from the economic situation, or from severe weather or natural disaster, has become more widespread, and hope for the future has been steadily declining."

His comments come as NATO officials firmly stand by pledges to hand security responsibility over to their Afghan counterparts by 2014.

A report published Monday by the International Crisis Group warns the administration in Kabul is at risk of collapse once NATO forces leave in 2014.

The ICG warns the credibility of Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government hasn't recovered from fraudulent elections in 2009 and 2010.

"President Karzai and Parliament have long known what needs to be done to ensure a clean vote, but they have steadfastly refused to take any serious steps in that direction" said Candace Rondeaux, the ICG's chief Afghan analyst, in a statement.

"Karzai seems more interested in perpetuating his own power by any means rather than ensuring credibility of the political system and long-term stability in the country."

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