Doctors Without Borders close projects in Afghanistan

Doctors Without Borders close projects in Afghanistan

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN — Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres closed its medical programs in Afghanistan after 24 years of service in the country. The decision is the aftermath of the assassination of five MSF aid workers in a targeted attack on June 2, 2004, when an MSF vehicle was ambushed in the northwestern province of Badghis.

The killing of five staff members is unprecedented in the organization’s 30-year history. The murders were earned out by local commanders as part of a turf War and are known to the Afghan government. The MSF is critical of the Afghan government’s failure to arrest the local commanders who conducted the attack.”

A Taliban spokesperson warned that organizations like MSF work for American interests, and are therefore targets. “This false accusation is particularly unjustified as MSF honors the separation of aid from political motives as a founding principle” said MSF Secretary General Marine Buissonniere. “This threat undeniably constitutes a refusal by the Taliban to accept independent and impartial humanitarian action.”

The organization also criticized the international coalition force (including Canada) that “consistently sought to use humanitarian aid to build support for its military and political ambitions.” In May MSF publicly condemned the distribution of leaflets by the coalition forces in southern Afghanistan in which the population was informed that providing information about the Taliban and al Qaeda was necessary if they wanted the delivery of aid to continue.

“We simply cannot sacrifice the security of our volunteers while warring parties seek to target and kill humanitarian workers. Ultimately it is the sick and destitute that suffer,” said Buissonniere.

Until the assassinations, MSF provided health care in 13 provinces with 80 international volunteers and 1,400 Afghan staff including basic and hospital level health care as well as tuberculosis treatment and programs to reduce maternal mortality. MSF will hand over its programs to the Ministry of Health and other organizations.

More than 30 aid workers have been killed in Afghanistan since the beginning of 2003, most of them by suspected remnants of the Taliban, who have vowed to halt humanitarian assistance and disrupt elections planned for October and April.

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN — Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres closed its medical programs in Afghanistan after 24 years of service in the country. The decision is the aftermath of the assassination of five MSF aid workers in a targeted attack on June 2, 2004, when an MSF vehicle was ambushed in the northwestern province of Badghis.

The killing of five staff members is unprecedented in the organization’s 30-year history. The murders were earned out by local commanders as part of a turf War and are known to the Afghan government. The MSF is critical of the Afghan government’s failure to arrest the local commanders who conducted the attack.”

A Taliban spokesperson warned that organizations like MSF work for American interests, and are therefore targets. “This false accusation is particularly unjustified as MSF honors the separation of aid from political motives as a founding principle” said MSF Secretary General Marine Buissonniere. “This threat undeniably constitutes a refusal by the Taliban to accept independent and impartial humanitarian action.”

The organization also criticized the international coalition force (including Canada) that “consistently sought to use humanitarian aid to build support for its military and political ambitions.” In May MSF publicly condemned the distribution of leaflets by the coalition forces in southern Afghanistan in which the population was informed that providing information about the Taliban and al Qaeda was necessary if they wanted the delivery of aid to continue.

“We simply cannot sacrifice the security of our volunteers while warring parties seek to target and kill humanitarian workers. Ultimately it is the sick and destitute that suffer,” said Buissonniere.

Until the assassinations, MSF provided health care in 13 provinces with 80 international volunteers and 1,400 Afghan staff including basic and hospital level health care as well as tuberculosis treatment and programs to reduce maternal mortality. MSF will hand over its programs to the Ministry of Health and other organizations.

More than 30 aid workers have been killed in Afghanistan since the beginning of 2003, most of them by suspected remnants of the Taliban, who have vowed to halt humanitarian assistance and disrupt elections planned for October and April.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Community Action Publishers

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group