Afghanistan: Civilians killed, displaced by clashes in Helmand - aid group
|Publisher||Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)|
|Publication Date||8 December 2009|
|Cite as||Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), Afghanistan: Civilians killed, displaced by clashes in Helmand - aid group, 8 December 2009, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4b28a1445.html [accessed 9 October 2015]|
KABUL, 8 December 2009 (IRIN) - Up to 2,000 families have been forced out of their homes in Nawzad District in the southern Afghan province of Helmand following clashes between Taliban insurgents and government forces over the past week, according to the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS).
"Our volunteers from Nawzad have reported that people have sought refuge in nearby villages and some have moved to Lashkargah [the provincial capital]," Ahmadullah Ahmadi, head of the ARCS office in Helmand, told IRIN. "They are temporarily displaced," he said.
Over 1,000 NATO and Afghan forces have been engaged in a military operation since 4 December to clear the area of insurgents, according to NATO officials, but William Pelletier, a NATO press officer in the south, said no civilians had been displaced.
"Civilians had already left the district because of Taliban violence... The area was empty before we started the operation there," Pelletier told IRIN on 8 December.
The ARCS's Ahmadi said nine civilians were killed and five injured in the clashes but gave no other details.
"Our forces have only engaged and killed Taliban combatants and have not caused harm to civilians," NATO's Pelletier said, adding that at least 10 insurgents had been killed in the operation.
Afghan and NATO officials said the battle zone was thick with improvised explosive devices planted by insurgents.
ARCS said it had no resources to assist the displaced but had asked the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for urgent food and non-food assistance. The ICRC supports ARCS with food, medical and other kinds of aid.
"The weather is cold and we believe people who have abandoned their homes need shelter and food urgently," said Ahmadi.
The UN does not operate in Helmand Province due to insecurity there but some UN agencies such as the UN World Food Programme (WFP) implement aid projects through local partners.
Dawood Ahmadi, a spokesman of the Helmand governor, said the government would try to assist people in Nawzad District once the military operation was over.
NATO's Pelletier said he was not aware of any humanitarian aid having been delivered to people in Nawzad District by international forces to date.