Kabul/ Geneva (ICRC) - Heavy fighting in the Chamkani district of Paktia province on 18 May has reportedly left many opposition fighters dead.
On 22 May, a team from the Afghan Red Crescent Society, materially supported by the ICRC, reached the scene of the fighting, accompanied by two local first-aid volunteers.
"Our purpose is to collect and, if possible, to identify the bodies so that we can return them to the families, or failing that, ensure that suitable arrangements are made for their dignified burial," said Fatima Gailani, the president of the National Society.
The task of recovering mortal remains is consistent with the mission of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. "International humanitarian law specifies that families have a right to know the fate of their relatives," said Reto Stocker, the ICRC's head of delegation in Kabul. "With the help of tribal elders, we will do our utmost for the families."
The fighting took place in a relatively remote area. All the parties to the conflict have been made aware of the operation under way in Chamkani district. This was done to ensure that the Afghan Red Crescent and the volunteers helping them can do their work without interference and in comparative safety.
For further information, please contact:
Michael O'Brien, ICRC Kabul, tel. +93700
Carla Haddad, ICRC Geneva, tel. +41 22 730 24 05 or +41 79 217 32 26
or visit our website: www.icrc.org