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Abduction of staffers to affect ICRC’s operations: Spokesman

By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: A foreign staffer of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), who was abducted on 19 December in Kunduz province, was released and is now with the ICRC team in Kunduz province, the agency said.

“The released ICRC staffer, Juan Carlos is ‘safe and sound’ at the moment and currently he is in our provincial office in Kunduz province”, Head of Communication for ICRF, Thomas Glass told to Afghanistan Times.

He said that Carlos would be shifted to Mazar-e-Sharif, and from there he would be off to Spain and reunited to his family in the near time.

It is worth mentioning that the freed staffer was abducted while travelling from ICRC office in Kunduz province to the sub-delegation toMazar-i-Sharif. At the way, three other of his colleagues were left unharmed, whereas,he was taken and was under captivity for almost four weeks.

“It’s clear that such incidents will have consequences in our operations, we have to take all the measures and evaluate the situation to make sure that we have a safe environment in which we can do our work,” Glass added.

“The safety and security of our staffers is a priority, we need a safe environment to do our humanitarian activity, and to carry out activates in all areas of a country to provide humanitarian assistance to the needed Afghan masses,” he added.

He called on all parties to provide security and safety which is important for humanitarian organizations to enable them to help the Afghan people, who are in need, particularly those suffering from the conflicts.

“In order to help needy people, humanitarian organization and humanitarian aid workers requires to have security guaranties, accordingly, humanitarian aid workers should not be targeted,” he insisted.

Meanwhile, Ahmad RaminAyaz, Spokesman for the ICRC, said “after the kidnapping partly the ICRC operationshave been reduced in northeast region.”

“We would evaluate situation and latter would make decision to resume operations in a better manner.”

In a statement the ICRC appreciated authorities and the communities who have mobilized and played a role in facilitating ICRC’s colleague’s release.

“We are relieved and grateful that Juan Carlos is now back with us, safe and sound,” said the ICRC head of delegation in Afghanistan, Monica Zanarelli in a statement.

“His abduction was a terrible ordeal for him, as well as for his family, friends and colleagues.”

“Our priority now is Juan Carlos’ well-being and getting him home to his family. We would ask everyone to respect his, and his families, privacy at this time,” the statement added.

According to statement the ICRC will not comment on the identity of the abductors, their motives or the details of the release.

ICRC are operating in Afghanistan for 30 years. ICRC provides medical care, supports water and sanitation services, visits places of detention and acts as a neutral intermediary to enable humanitarian work to take place throughout the country.

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