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ICRC reassess Afghan operations

July 23, 2013 at 10:46 AM

KABUL, Afghanistan, July 23 (UPI) -- The International Committee of the Red Cross said it was forced to adapt to an increasingly unstable working environment in Afghanistan.

The ICRC evacuated some members of its staff from an office in Jalalabad as a security precaution following an attack by "unidentified armed men" in May. An Afghan guard employed by the organization was killed, though the rest of the staff of 36 was uninjured.

Jacques de Maio, the ICRC's director of Asian operations, said the agency was committed to its work in Afghanistan, though the attack showed Afghanistan remains unstable.

"We now have an environment in which armed men could breach one of the most ancient rules of war, according to which those helping non-combatants must be spared and protected, and by doing so deliberately deprive millions of Afghans of much-needed help," he said in a statement Tuesday.

De Maio said his agency is now forced to adapt to the security situation in Afghanistan to reduce its exposure to risk. This means some services would be diminished as a result of the violence.

"This means that some activities will be downsized, handed over to local partners or simply discontinued," he said.

Western military leaders have been generally upbeat in their assessment of Afghanistan. NATO forces last month said Afghan military forces have evolved to the extent that they're in the lead of security operations in the country.

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