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Red Cross Warns of Growing Civilian Deaths in Afghanistan

The International Committee of the Red Cross says security in Afghanistan has deteriorated over the last year, with civilians bearing the brunt of a rise in violence between international forces and insurgents.

The director of operations for the Red Cross, Peter Kraehenbuehl, said Tuesday that Afghan civilians are suffering horribly from a significant increase in suicide attacks and aerial bombing campaigns.

The official also said ordinary Afghans still lack access to basic services, making it difficult for them to lead normal lives. He said deteriorating security means civilians who are most in need are the hardest to reach.

The Red Cross also says the fighting between Afghan forces backed by international troops and Taleban militants has intensified in the south and east since last year and is spreading to northern and western Afghanistan.

The statements mark the 20th year of the Geneva-based organization's work in Afghanistan.

There are about 50,000 foreign troops led by the United States and NATO fighting alongside Afghan forces against a resurgent Taleban movement in Afghanistan.