Taliban announce ‘ban’ on Red Cross, WHO in Afghanistan
Kabul: The International Committee of the Red Cross said it
had suspended work in Afghanistan after the Taliban announced a “ban” against
the humanitarian group and the World Health Organization.
According to a Taliban statement, the ICRC had not “acted upon
its agreements” with the Taliban.
The insurgents, who control or influence about half of
Afghanistan, also accused the WHO of “suspicious movements” during a
As a result, the Taliban have “decided to ban the operation
of these two organisations across the country until further notice,” the
militants said, noting they would not guarantee health workers’ safety.
ICRC spokesman Robin Waudo said the organisation had put its
activities on hold in war-torn Afghanistan, where many in rural areas have
scant access to health care and where polio rates are rising.
“We acknowledge this announcement and have suspended our
activities in the country due to the withdrawal of security guarantees,” Waudo
“Therefore, we are now in the process of contacting the
(Taliban) to initiate a bilateral and confidential dialogue in view of the
statement.” Jin Ni, a WHO spokeswoman in Afghanistan told AFP that officials
“acknowledge the reports and are working on better understanding the
The Taliban last August cancelled a “security agreement”
with the ICRC, which suspended activities as a result.
According to the Taliban, the ICRC resumed its activities in
October following talks.
The number of polio cases worldwide has fallen by more than
99 percent since 1988, but the WHO still considers Afghanistan, Nigeria and
Pakistan to be polio-endemic.