'We need to find our missing colleagues' - Red Cross in Afghanistan to RT
We want our missing colleagues returned safely, and we need to find out what really happened in the course of this terrible tragedy, Thomas Glass, head of communications for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Afghanistan, told RT.
Glass discussed the tragic incident when six of the ICRC employees (International Committee of the Red Cross) were killed and two others went missing on Wednesday following an attack in northern Afghanistan that officials attributed to local affiliates of ISIS.
RT: Could you comment on the tragic incident involving the killing of six of your colleagues?
Thomas Glass: Following the outrageous and despicable act of killing six of our colleagues and the fact that two more of our colleagues are still unaccounted for, we’ve made the decision to put on hold our activities throughout in Afghanistan until further notice.
The people who are trapped by the conflict, they are innocent civilians who are bearing the brunt of the fighting. We are here for them and we are here to help them.
RT: What needs to happen for the Red Cross to renew its operations in Afghanistan?
TG: First, we need to find our colleagues; we want them back safe and sound. And we need to find out what really happened. We also need to be able to reassess how we can conduct our activities, and how we can bring humanitarian aid to the Afghans who are suffering from the conflict in a way that doesn’t jeopardize the safety and security of our staff.
RT: Is the Red Cross looking at the possibility of a complete pullout from Afghanistan due to the lack of safety?
TG: At this point it is clear that all the options are on the table. We’ve been in Afghanistan continuously for the past thirty years… we have a long-standing presence here. We are not planning on leaving the Afghan population behind. The people who are trapped by the conflict, they are innocent civilians who are bearing the brunt of the fighting. We are here for them and we are here to help them. But we can only do so if we are allowed to do our job, if our staff is protected as it should be and the work of humanitarian aid workers is respected.
Overall, through all the years of conflict it is always the civilians that bear the brunt of conflict in Afghanistan just like anywhere else.
Unfortunately it is a sad reality that we all have to face. What is important is that the parties to the conflict are held accountable for their actions and that all the precautions are put in place to protect the civilians…
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.