COGS IN THE WHEEL OF PEACE Introduction by Rossella Miccio, President of EMERGENCY, in the…
Afghanistan: Despite Peace Talks in Doha, Fighting Rages on in Helmand Province
A Taliban military offensive against Afghan security forces has been underway in Helmand province since Sunday 11 October, with heavy clashes reaching the outskirts of the city of Lashkar-Gah.
According to local media reports, the Taliban have taken control of a police station in district 4 and various checkpoints on the main road connecting Lashkar-Gah with Kandahar. The violence also damaged a power plant, leaving several districts of both Helmand and Kandahar with no electricity.
Currently, fighting continues in the nearby towns of Nawa, Nad Ali, Babaji, Bashiran, Bolan and Chah-e Anjir, just outside the Lashkar-Gah urban area. Armed clashes have also been reported in eastern parts of the city, particularly in the Nahr-e Saraj district.
Yesterday (Sunday 11 October), EMERGENCY’s Surgical Centre for War Victims in Lashkar-Gah received 48 patients with war injuries, 4 of whom had already died upon arrival. 18 were hospitalised with serious injuries, 11 were treated on an outpatient basis, while 15 were transferred to other health facilities in the area.
“This morning, a rocket flew into the city, and we immediately received 6 patients due to the explosion. Today (Monday 12 October), we have received one person who was dead on arrival and another 11 seriously injured patients have been hospitalised. 6 have already been treated and discharged,” says Marco Puntin, EMERGENCY’s Afghanistan Programme Coordinator.
“Whilst in Doha there is talk of peace, the violence here in Afghanistan doesn’t stop. Civilians are already paying the price for this new wave of fighting in Helmand, ” continues Puntin.
In fact, a recent report by the Afghanistan Analysts Network underlines how, in the contested areas, the defensive position taken by the Afghan security forces has led both to an increase in Taliban attacks against their positions, and to a greater number of indiscriminate responses by the army itself. The civilian population runs the risk of being trapped in the crossfire.
EMERGENCY has been present in Lashkar-Gah since 2004 with a Surgical Centre for War Victims, which is attached to various First Aid Posts across the province. During 2020, the Centre has so far treated 1,764 patients with war injuries – a 16% increase on last year.
EMERGENCY has 2 other hospitals Afghanistan – in Kabul and Anabah – a Maternity Centre, and a network of 45 first aid posts.
EMERGENCY is an independent, neutral organisation, founded in 1994 to offer free, high-quality medical and surgical treatment to victims of war, landmines and poverty. Since then EMERGENCY has treated over 11 million people: one every minute. EMERGENCY promotes a culture of peace, solidarity and respect for human rights.