October 12th, 2010
12:42 PM ET

ICRC: Kandahar casualties reflect worsening security

War casualties in a Kandahar hospital are "hitting record highs," figures that illustrate the "deteriorating security situation" in southern Afghanistan, the International Committee for the Red Cross said on Tuesday.

Mirwais Regional Hospital had nearly 1,000 new patients with weapon-related injuries. That's twice as many new patients with weapon-related injuries in August and September 2010 as during the same months last year at the facility, supported by the ICRC.

Reto Stocker, head of the ICRC delegation in Kabul, called the numbers "just the tip of the iceberg" because people suffer from injuries or get diseases indirectly from the Afghan conflict.

"Our greatest challenge consists in maintaining access to the areas hardest hit by the fighting, but the increase in the number of armed groups is making this much harder for us," Stocker said.

"Nevertheless, because the ICRC is engaged in dialogue with all parties to the conflict, it hopes to be able to maintain its presence among the displaced, the detained, the injured or the otherwise war-affected people of Afghanistan."

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