International aid agencies are expressing concern about the
deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, noting that problems
have spread to previously stable areas and attacks on aid agencies and
their staff are on the increase. Tendai Maphosa has more in this
report for VOA from London.
Aid agencies say rising insecurity
in Afghanistan is hampering efforts to provide relief. The Agency
Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief or ACBAR, represents about 100
non-governmental aid organizations. In a just released statement, the
group also says that the number of civilians killed in the Afghan
conflict is on the rise - up by approximately 50 percent over the
same period last year.
Speaking with VOA from her office in
Kabul, ACBAR spokesperson Anja de Beer says that while most of the
deaths are attributed to insurgents, the international and Afghan
forces are also responsible. Some of the deaths she says occur in
aerial bombings but there are also cases where she alleges they are the
result of excessive force.
"There are unfortunately instances
that a search is conducted by coalition forces and the Afghan forces,
sometimes there are extra-judicial executions, that luckily seems to be
the exception," said de Beer.
De Beer added that the insurgents
are gaining a foothold in areas where they were not so strong before.
This, she says, has forced the closure of a large number of schools and
health facilities in the south; is hindering the implementation of
vital development projects; and has caused significant levels of
The ACBAR statement says that aid
agencies are also increasingly being targeted by both insurgents and
criminal elements. This, it says has forced many relief agencies to
restrict their development and humanitarian activities.
officials worry that with a drought in some parts of the country and
increased food prices, over four million Afghans are facing extremely
difficult circumstances. They say that young children, and pregnant and
breastfeeding women are at especially high risk.
ACBAR's Anja de beer says her organization believes the Afghan conflict cannot be solved on the battlefield.
is needed for sustainable peace is support for development and delivery
of essential services to the population, government reforms and peace
building initiatives," she said.
De Beer also said perceived
corruption by the Afghan authorities turns members of the public
against the government. Also, she added, the agricultural sector needs
more support and that aid should be delivered in a more efficient and