Afghan unrest sparks aid warning

Other News Materials 1 August 2008 07:21 (UTC +04:00)

Aid agencies in Afghanistan have warned they may become unable to operate in parts of the country once seen as safe because of the intensifying conflict, BBC reported.

A statement on behalf of 100 different non-governmental organisations pointed to a 50% increase in insurgent attacks compared to last year.

Aid agencies were increasingly becoming targets, the NGOs said.

This June saw more attacks on aid agencies than in any month since the overthrow of the Taleban in 2001.

Nineteen of their staff have been killed so far this year - more than in the whole of last year.

There was also criticism of the increasing number of civilians dying in the conflict - mostly caused by insurgents, but also by international forces who, the report says, have increased their use of air strikes.

The NGOs' statement noted that insecurity had spread to "previously secure areas... including those close to Kabul".

Matt Waldman, policy advisor at Oxfam International, which is one of the 100 NGOs behind the statement, said the work of the agencies was essential.

" Afghanistan is facing a drought," he told the BBC.

"There is also a crisis with respect to food prices, which have gone up dramatically.

"There is an urgent need for full support for the people of Afghanistan, particularly in remote rural areas, and this increasing insecurity is threatening the ability of aid agencies to reach out to those areas."