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ICRC: Afghans Suffer More as Conflict Spreads


The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says civilians in Afghanistan face increasing hardship as clashes involving Taleban insurgents and U.S.-led and Afghan forces continue to spread.

The head of the Afghan delegation of the ICRC, Reto Stocker, said Thursday in Geneva that the worsening security situation means that more and more Afghan provinces are becoming too dangerous for aid workers.

Stocker said there had been a significant increase in the number of civilian casualties as a result of suicide attacks by Taleban insurgents and aerial bombings by coalition forces, driving many civilians from their homes.

The ICRC official added the organization is facing serious funding shortfalls. Stocker also said he will push for a 30 percent increase in the organization's 2008 budget for Afghanistan, from $38 million in 2007 to $51 million. The ICRC is headquartered in Geneva.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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