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article imageTaliban ends ban on Red Cross offers Afghan security guarantees

By Ken Hanly     Sep 16, 2019 in World
Taliban leaders in Afghanistan announce that they are revoking their ban on Red Cross operations in parts of the country they control. They are now offering security guarantees for any Red Cross staff doing humanitarian work in Taliban-held areas.
Taliban could use help as attacks on them escalate
A recent Reuters article notes: Afghan security forces, backed by U.S. air strikes, killed two of the movement’s shadow provincial governors on Sunday, as fighting stepped up in the wake of the collapse of talks aimed at ending the conflict, officials said...The defence ministry in a statement said at least 85 Taliban fighters were killed in a joint ground and air operation in southern Paktika province on Saturday night."
The attacks have intensified since Trump refused to agree to a peace deal with the Taliban. As is often the case, the Taliban gave their own figures. A spokesperson claimed that seven of their fighters had been killed and 11 wounded while Afghan security forces casualties were over 20. With the Taliban suffering more casualties help from the Red Cross would no doubt be welcome.
A recent article reports: "The Islamic Emirate restores the former security guarantees to ICRC in Afghanistan and instructs all mujahideen to pave the way for ICRC activities and be mindful of security to this committee's workers and equipment," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid in a statement." The Taliban refers to itself as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The Taliban had also banned the World Health Organization (WHO) but did not refer to it in the announcement.
Red Cross claims neutrality in the conflict
The guarantee of security for the Red Cross is essential otherwise the organization could suffer from attacks. It might take some time for the organization to cover the considerable area controlled and contested by the Taliban.
Taliban and others had been suspicious of western aid organizations
The CIA organized a fake vaccination program as a 2011 article notes: "The CIA organised a fake vaccination programme in the town where it believed Osama bin Laden was hiding in an elaborate attempt to obtain DNA from the fugitive al-Qaida leader's family, a Guardian investigation has found. As part of extensive preparations for the raid that killed Bin Laden in May, CIA agents recruited a senior Pakistani doctor to organise the vaccine drive in Abbottabad, even starting the "project" in a poorer part of town to make it look more authentic, according to Pakistani and US officials and local residents." This operation made the Taliban and other radical groups suspicious of western humanitarian programs and hurt legitimate vaccination programs. A number of aid groups were banished from certain areas.
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