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ICRC office closure due to downsize not security threat: Police

Security & Crime

آرشيف

ICRC office closure due to downsize not security threat: Police

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Oct 10, 2017 - 16:24

KUNUZ CITY (Pajhwok): Police Chief of northern Kunduz province has rejected the closure of International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) office due to insecurity and said security stepped up for the activities of welfare organizations in the province.

The Geneva-based organization on Monday announced downgraded its presence in Afghanistan after a series of attacks on its staff.

The ICRC delegation head in Afghanistaninfo-icon said: “Since December 2016, the ICRC has been directly targeted in northern Afghanistan three times, including the rehabilitation centre in Mazar-i-Sharif."

In a statement, Monica Zanarelli said the incidents had affected not only the ICRC in the war-devastated country, but the organisation as a whole.

But Police Chief Abdul Hameed Hameedi told reporters that ICRC closed its office after downsize of employees in Kunduz and rejected the security threat issue behind the organisation’s closure.

“ICRC office has not been closed due to security issue but the organization downsized its employees from 100 to 50 and Kunduz is part of this process,” said Hameedi.

He said he contacted officials of the ICRC in Kunduz who faced no security threats and the representatives of the office thanked from Afghan forces for providing them with protection services.

ICRC said, after discussion it had concluded there was no other choice but to drastically cut its presence and activities in Afghanistan, in particular in the north.

As a result, ICRC offices in Maimana and Kunduz will be closed, while its sub-delegation in Mazar-i-Sharif will be seriously downsized.

The rehabilitation centre in Mazar-i-Sharif will remain open, while the ICRC assesses the ability of partners – whether other organisations or the Afghan authorities – to take over the centre.

In the rest of the country, ICRC activities are also being reviewed. The humanitarian organisation said it was working on a severance and social plan for the staff affected by the closures.

“This is a difficult moment for the ICRC and its staff,” said Zanarelli, who added: “After 30 years of continuous operations in the country, we are reducing our presence.

Earlier, an employee of the ICRC was abducted by militants on Aliabad-Kunduz highway. The employee was rescued and released by security forces.

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