Caught in the Conflict

Civilians and the international security strategy in Afghanistan

Published: 3 April 2009

The intensification and spread of the conflict in Afghanistan is increasingly affecting civilians. Social protection and access to basic services is also being adversely affected by the widening conflict, with significant levels of displacement and severe disruption to health and education services. Yet such considerations are not being adequately factored into international security strategies.

Planned increases in troops and military operations during 2009 are likely to lead to higher levels of displacement, further restrictions to social services, and greater impediments for aid agencies to reach civilians in need of protection and assistance.

This paper makes recommendations on how the security strategy of the international community should be changed in order to minimize the harm caused to Afghan civilians and reduce the disruption to development and humanitarian activities in the current environment in Afghanistan.

The recommendations reflect the long-standing experience in Afghanistan of the NGO signatories to this paper as well as other NGOs that operate throughout the country and who work with many Afghan partner organizations.

NGO signatories

  • ActionAid
  • Afghanaid
  • CARE Afghanistan
  • Christian Aid
  • Cordaid
  • DACAAR
  • Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation
  • International Rescue Committee
  • Marie Stopes International
  • Oxfam International
  • Save the Children UK