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Registered: 11/08/02
Posts: 32,665
Loc: Ripple's Heart
Afghanistan Update
    #2935862 - 07/28/04 12:17 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

afghanistan doesn't sound quite so liberated...


KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- The international relief group M?decins Sans Fronti?res has announced it is pulling out of Afghanistan after 24 years because of security concerns and frustrations with the U.S. military.

MSF -- or Doctors Without Borders -- blamed the Afghan government for failing to catch and prosecute attackers who killed five MSF workers earlier this year.

It also blamed the Taliban, who have specifically threatened its aid workers, and the U.S.-backed coalition, which MSF said had "blurred" the image of aid workers as the coalition attempted to "win hearts and minds."

"The killing of our own colleagues, together with the government's failure to arrest the culprits, along with false allegations of the Taliban, have led us to come to the regrettable conclusion that it is no longer possible for us to work here," said Marine Buissonniere, MSF's international secretary.

The Nobel Prize-winning group suspended its Afghanistan operations in June after its workers were shot dead in an ambush in the worst attack on the aid community since the fall of the Taliban.

A Dutch man, a Belgian woman, a Norwegian man and two Afghan men were killed in the attack.

"The government failure to investigate and prosecute along with the threats of attacks on aid workers has put us in a position where we feel that independent humanitarian action -- which involves unarmed aid workers going into areas of conflict to provide aid -- has become impossible," said Kenny Gluck, operational director of MSF.

Buissonniere said the organization could not sacrifice the security of volunteers while MSF was being targeted.

She said MSF was leaving with "a sense of mourning" for its slain workers and for those who ultimately will suffer -- "the sick, the wounded and the needy that will need assistance in Afghanistan."

"We feel the U.S.-backed coalition has contributed to the blurring of identities," Buissonniere said, noting the coalition had constantly attempted to use humanitarian assistance to build support for its political ambitions.

"MSF denounces this attempt to co-opt humanitarian aid; to use humanitarian aid to win hearts and minds."

Buissonniere said providing humanitarian aid is no longer viewed as a neutral and impartial act in Afghanistan.

She cited a coalition leaflet which pictured an Afghan girl carrying a bag of wheat which said that for assistance to continue, Afghans need to report information on the Taliban and al Qaeda and others.

She said humanitarian assistance will only work when "armed actors" respect the safety of humanitarian workers. That, Buissonniere said, is "no longer the case in Afghanistan."

More than 30 aid workers have been killed since the beginning of the year, she said.

The group had about 80 international volunteers and 1,400 Afghan staff working in the country before the attack.

Afghanistan, which is grappling with a growing drug trade and sporadic violence, is a key security concern for the West two years after a U.S.-led coalition toppled the militant Islamic Taliban regime for harboring al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Despite the presence of around 20,000 U.S.-led troops and 6,500 NATO-led peacekeepers, almost half of Afghanistan is still not safe.

Warlords have yet to be disarmed and a stubborn Taliban and al Qaeda insurgency is persisting in the south and east.

Until June's attack, aid workers had been operating relatively freely in the north and west.

Taliban fighters and their militant allies, seeking to destabilize the nation's first post-Taliban elections set for September, have vowed to attack foreign and local soldiers and aid workers

They also oppose the U.S.-backed central government of President Hamid Karzai.

MSF has been working in Afghanistan since 1979, providing health care and support programs to local hospitals in 13 of the country's 34 provinces.

All I know is The Growery is a place where losers who get banned here go.

Edited by afoaf (08/03/04 02:52 PM)

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Registered: 11/08/02
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Re: Afghanistan Update [Re: afoaf]
    #2960171 - 08/03/04 02:53 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)


All I know is The Growery is a place where losers who get banned here go.

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