Geneva/Kabul (ICRC) – All five staff members of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) who were being held since 16 February 2016 in the province of Ghazni were released unharmed today. The ICRC welcomes their unconditional release and calls for greater respect for its work and staff in Afghanistan.
"We are immensely relieved to know our five colleagues are free and in good health" said Jean-Nicolas Marti, head of the ICRC delegation in Kabul. "We want to thank all involved for the swift resolution of the crisis".
The staff members were held while on their way to carry out an assessment, with the aim to assist conflict-stricken communities in the Waghaz district of Ghazni.
The ICRC remains committed to pursuing its work for the people of Afghanistan who have been suffering due to the ongoing conflict. "We urge for greater respect for the ICRC's humanitarian work all over the country. Our staff must be allowed to work in safety. We are currently reviewing the security conditions in Ghazni with all parties to the conflict and hope to receive renewed security guarantees in order to resume our work in the province as soon as possible", Mr. Marti added.
The ICRC in Afghanistan, established in 1987, works to prevent violations of international humanitarian law, to protect detainees, to provide water, sanitation and means of support to civilians affected by the conflict. It also restores contact between family members who have either been detained or separated due to the conflict, serves as a neutral intermediary, assists the wounded and the disabled, and provides support for healthcare facilities in the country.
For further information, please contact:
For Dari and Pashto speaking journalists: Ramin Ayaz Ahmad, ICRC Kabul , tel: +93 79 461 8908
For English speaking journalists: Olivier Moeckli, ICRC Kabul, tel: +93 72 914 05 10