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IEDs hamper humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan: Report

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: Expressing serious concerns over use of the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the conflict zones, a British nonprofit organization said that humanitarian efforts were hampered by the IEDs in war zones such as Afghanistan.

In its report released the other day, Chatham House said the IEDs were posing great threat to the nonprofit organizations in the war-hit countries including Afghanistan. The report titled “The Impact of IEDs on the Humanitarian Space in Afghanistan” tells about threat posed by the IEDs to humanitarian operations in the countries that are caught by conflicts and chaos.

The report says that landmines pose greater risk of harm because the shrapnel hit people over a wide area. The major threat that the humanitarian teams face is the use of IEDs. Landmines are a major cause of civilian casualties in Afghanistan.

“Afghanistan has consistently seen high levels of casualties from IEDs. A significant proportion of these are civilian. Between 2009 and 2014 there were 15,484 civilian casualties [5,442 deaths and 10,042 injuries] in 4,664 separate IED attacks, according to data collected by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). The International NGO Safety Organization (INSO), which uses a different casualty recording methodology from UNAMA, found that IEDs were responsible for 58 per cent of the civilian fatalities caused by armed opposition groups despite making up only 27 per cent of security incidents,” the report underlines.

According to the research, aid workers in Afghanistan have been directly targeted, inadvertently caught up in the blasts, or otherwise affected by IED attacks, and this is having a serious impact on the situation in the country, where humanitarian organizations play a significant role. As per official statistics around 2,320 nonprofit organizations were registered by the end of 2013. Humanitarian sector has employed as many as 90,000 people, most are Afghans. Likewise, 3,000 foreign aid workers are registered with the government.

The report further says, “Foreign aid makes up a large part of the Afghan economy. In January 2014 the government approved a $7.6 billion budget, $4.8 billion of which came from international donors. Additionally, aid is seen as an important component of counter-insurgency work in the country. Given that aid is so bound up in the international stabilization strategy for Afghanistan, humanitarian organizations must operate in a very congested and politicized environment. There are NGOs from around the world; some have been there for decades, others since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, and their scope and size vary enormously. Much of the aid over the last decade and a half has come from the United States. In 2014 US investment in Afghanistan eclipsed the inflation-adjusted figure for the Marshall Plan as the most expensive nation-building project ever undertaken. Since 2002 some $104 billion has been spent in the country by the United States alone.”

 

Aid workers operating in the conflict zones are considered non-combatants and protected under the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the related Protocols I and II of 1977. Though, the United Nations Security Council in 2003condemned all forms of violence against those participating in humanitarian operations and called for even greater protection, but humanitarian workers are still prone to targeted attacks in Afghanistan. Few days ago dead bodies of five Save the Children workers were found in Uruzgan province of the country. They were abducted by the militants.

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