The International Committee of the Red Cross on Monday said that it would sharply cut down on its operations in Afghanistan, following attacks in which seven of its workers were killed this year, Reuters reported. “Exposure to risk has become our greatest challenge and concern,” Monica Zanarelli, head of the Red Cross in Afghanistan, said in a press conference in Kabul.
“We have no choice but to drastically reduce our presence in Afghanistan,” she said. Zanarelli added that the decision would particularly affect the Kunduz, Faryab and Balkh provinces, where the organisation’s facilities would either be downsized or shut down. Red Cross officials however said it was not yet clear how many of its 1,800 workers in Afghanistan would be affected by the decision.
In February, six of the organisation’s aid workers were killed by suspected Islamic State group militants in the Qush Tepa area of Jowzjan province. After this, the International Committee of the Red Cross temporarily suspended its operations in Afghanistan. In September, a Spanish Red Cross physiotherapist working in Mazar-i-Sharif city was shot dead by one of her patients, BBC reported.