Geneva/Kabul (ICRC) – All five staff members of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) abducted on 14 August in the province of Herat were released unharmed today. The ICRC welcomes their unconditional release and calls for greater respect for its work in Afghanistan.
"Our five colleagues are free. They are in good health and have been reunited with their families, which was the most important thing for us," said Monica Zanarelli, head of the ICRC delegation in Kabul. "We remain committed to pursuing our activities for people suffering the effects of the conflict in Afghanistan. Once again, we are calling for greater respect for the ICRC's humanitarian work all over the country. Our staff must be allowed to work in safety."
The staff members were abducted while helping conflict-stricken communities in the Adraskan district of Herat to find ways to provide for themselves.
The ICRC delegation in Kabul, established in 1987, works to prevent violations of international humanitarian law, to protect detainees and to bring water, sanitation and means of support to civilians affected by conflict. It also restores contact between family members, serves as a neutral intermediary, assists the wounded and the disabled, and provides support for hospital care.
For further information, please contact: Anastasia Isyuk, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 30 23 or +41 79 251 93 02 Marek Resich, ICRC Kabul, tel: +93 707 740 526 Rafiullah Stanikzai (Dari and Pashto), ICRC Kabul, tel: +93 788 308 908