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Afghanistan Taliban withdraws protection for Red Cross

The Taliban says it will no longer allow safe passage to Red Cross staff working in Afghanistan. The militants accuse the neutral humanitarian group of failing to meet its obligations to help Taliban prisoners in a jail in Kabul. The ICRC monitors detention conditions and provides medical aid. It scaled down its presence in Afghanistan last year after seven staff were killed. The group said it was concerned by the Taliban’s move. Separately on Thursday, a blast in a Shia Muslim area in western Kabul killed at least 25 people, the health ministry said. No group has yet claimed the latest attack targeting civilians in the Afghan capital. Spokeswoman Andrea Catta Preta said the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) was in close contact with the Taliban following their announcement and hoping to find a solution so the group’s humanitarian work could continue. The ICRC treats all parties harmed by warfare humanely and does not take sides. It has in the past given first aid training to Taliban members. It operates in Taliban-controlled areas with guarantees of safety and helps to repatriate bodies from both sides after fighting between the militants and the Afghan army.

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