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Red Cross to cut Afghanistan operation 'drastically' after attacks

The ICRC says it has no option but to reduce staff after fatal attacks this year.

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Red Cross to cut Afghanistan operation 'drastically' after attacks

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The International Committee of the Red Cross says it is to cut back “drastically” its operations in Afghanistan.

The announcement that the ICRC is to reduce its presence in the country follows attacks that have killed seven of its staff this year.

In February the Red Cross put all of its operations on hold after six employees died in an assault on an aid convoy.

Activities gradually resumed but last month a Spanish physiotherapist working in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif was shot dead by one of her patients. Four ICRC staff have also been abducted over the past year.

In Kabul the Red Cross said it had no choice but to reduce its presence especially in the north of the country.

“Exposure to risk has become our greatest challenge and concern, we know that there is no zero risk in Afghanistan and we are not aiming at that, we don’t want to build differently our security than we have always done,” the head of the ICRC delegation in Afghanistan, Monica Zanarelli, told a news conference.

The organisation couldn’t say how many of its 1,800 staff would be affected.

It has operated for over 30 years in Afghanistan; where the humanitarian programme is its fourth largest.