In Afghanistan, More Troops Equals Greater Humanitarian Needs

U.S. army troops unload humanitarian aid in Afghanistan. Photo by: William Henry / isafmedia / CC BY isafmediaCC BY

The expected U.S.-led troop surge in Afghanistan over the next 12 months will lead to a rise in humanitarian needs, aid agencies warned.

“In the experience of the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross), more troops have led to more fighting which has always left more casualties,” said Bijan Fredric Farnoudi, an ICRC spokesman, as quoted by IRIN.

Farnoudi added that they expect humanitarian needs in the country to increase as a result of more intense fighting between the military and Taliban insurgents. This concern was echoed by several other non-governmental organizations, including the Afghan Red Crescent Society.

Gen. David Petraeus, the newly appointed commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, noted during his U.S. Senate confirmation hearing last month that tough fighting in the Asian country will continue.

“Indeed, it may get more intense in the next few months,” he said.

Aid organizations explained that aside from an increase in the number of civilian casualties, a more intense military offensive will likely result in a rise in the number of internally displaced people and the discontinuation of education and health services.

“No one knows for sure what is going to happen in the coming months and how big the humanitarian consequences could be,” an NGO worker who requested anonymity said, according to IRIN.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.