gives first aid lessons to
Cross in Afghanistan has been teaching the Taliban basic
first aid and giving insurgents medical equipment so that
fighters wounded during battles with Nato and Afghan government
forces can be treated in the field, it was revealed
70 members of the "armed opposition" received training in
April, the Red Cross said – a move likely to anger the
government of Hamid Karzai, which is losing large numbers of
police and soldiers in insurgent attacks.
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it had
introduced the classes because pitched battles, landmines and
roadblocks stopped people in the most volatile areas from
getting to hospital.
Cross, which aims to remain neutral in the conflict, has
trained more than 100 Afghan soldiers and policemen, as well as
a network of taxi drivers who operate an unofficial ambulance
service in Helmand and Kandahar provinces.
leading figure in Kandahar's local government, who wanted to
remain anonymous, said the Taliban did "not deserve to be
treated like humans".
"They are like animals, and they treat the people they capture
worse than animals. They kidnapped and killed an American lady
and then wouldn't even return her body. These people don't
deserve this help."
ministries of defence and the interior said they were unable to
comment on what they described as a highly controversial
spokesman in Kabul said: "Nato has tremendous respect for the
humanitarian work carried out by the ICRC and we recognize the
need for this work to be carried out
[Nato] forces also provide treatment to any case caught up in
this conflict, including our opponents, in line with our own
obligation to respect the rules of armed
One of the
ICRC-trained drivers, who transports sick and wounded people
from Sangin district in Helmand, where some of the most fierce
fighting is taking place, to Mirwais hospital in Kandahar city,
told the ICRC that roadblocks and insecurity had lengthened the
journey to six or seven hours, rather than the normal
extraordinary measure highlights how badly security has
declined in southern Afghanistan, undermining this summer's
effort by US-led forces to protect the population from
violence. The ICRC said its volunteers in Kandahar and staff at
Mirwais hospital had seen a "substantial increase" in the
number of patients injured by improvised explosive devices
(IEDs) and other weapons.
the Nato push in southern Afghanistan, which is aimed at
seizing full control of Kandahar city and central Helmand from
the Taliban by the end of the year, said that coalition
commanders had made the situation worse by publicising where
they were going to launch assaults.
discussing publicly their plans in February for clearing the
largely rural area of Marja in Helmand and then their desire to
"clear" districts surrounding Kandahar city, Nato hoped many
insurgents would simply choose not to fight.
many cases, the move gave the Taliban time to dig in and plant
IEDS in the areas.
the beds at Mirwais hospital have been regularly filled with
men with gunshot wounds, many of whom are insurgents. But ICRC
staff, who support the work of the hospital, have learned not
to ask questions about how they sustained their
the government has been happy to allow fighters to come to the
hospital, receive treatment and leave again.
Helmand in April, the tacit approval for such humanitarian
medical support appeared to break down when Afghan security
services raided a hospital in Lashkar Gah, the provincial
capital, run by an Italian NGO called Emergency, which also has
a strict policy of providing surgical help to anyone who needs
it. Nine staff were arrested and accused of plotting to murder
the provincial governor after weapons and suicide bomb vests
were found in the compound.
International Committee of the Red Cross runs hospitals in
Afghanistan, visits prisoners on both sides of the conflict and
co-operates on various projects with the Afghan Red Crescent
Society, a separate organization, on various
Source: Daily The NEWs (
May 26, 2010)