Securitization and Threats to Humanitarian Workers

Authored by: Larissa Fast

The Routledge Companion to Humanitarian Action

Print publication date:  March  2015
Online publication date:  March  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415844420
eBook ISBN: 9780203753422
Adobe ISBN: 9781135013936


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On 29 May 2013, a suicide bomber attacked the office compound of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. The bomber exploded the device at the entrance to the compound, killing an unarmed ICRC guard and injuring three additional staff members. The bombing marked the first targeted attack on ICRC offices in the country, even though ICRC delegates have died or been kidnapped in the line of duty since the organization first established its office in Kabul in 1987. 1 In response, the ICRC temporarily evacuated non-Afghan staff members and closed its Jalalabad office. Despite the attack, it continued its physical rehabilitation activities in Jalalabad and did not suspend its operations elsewhere in Afghanistan (ICRC 2013b; Azam 2013). Nevertheless, according to the ICRC head of operations for South Asia, the attack forced the ICRC to scale back its activities, causing ‘an adverse effect on the quality and quantity of some of our services’ (ICRC 2013c).

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