KABUL, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Afghan conflicts continue to getting worse for civilians, who often are the victims of the protracted war, and the trend is worrying, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) announced on Monday.
"Since I arrived here in 2006, local armed groups have proliferated, civilians have been caught not just one but multiple front lines, and it is become increasingly difficult for ordinary Afghans to obtain health care," Reto Stocker, the ICRC's outgoing Head of Delegation in Afghanistan, told reporters here.
He noted that in addition to the armed conflict, civilian suffering is also increased by other factors. "Hardship arising from the economic situation, or from severe weather or natural disaster, has become more widespread, and hope for the future has been steadily declining,"
However, he said that despite these challenges, there has also been some progress. "Compared with previous decades, the plight of civilians is being made known more forcefully by the media and civil society."
Over the years, the ICRC has been able to raise its concerns more directly and candidly with the various parties of the conflict. The parties have shown a greater willingness to listen to them and to follow certain recommendations they have made concerning the conduct of hostilities and detention-related matters. That cannot be said about every war zone in the world today, he noted.
A total of 1,145 Afghan civilians were killed and 1,954 injured in conflicts in the first six months of 2012, according to a UN report released in capital Kabul on Aug. 8.
Nearly half of the civilian deaths were caused by the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacks and suicide bombings.
According to Stocker, more than 15,000 IEDs and roadside bombs have been emplacing or blasted since the beginning this year across the country.
The UN report attributed 80 percent of the civilian deaths to the attacks of Taliban insurgents and other armed groups, another 10 percent of the deaths were attributed to Afghan and NATO-led forces and 10 percent were unattributed.
"We are concerned that as the international forces pull back, the funding available to the Afghan government is reduced, it could become more difficult to maintain acceptable conditions in the prisons," Stocker said, adding the ICRC continues to visit thousands of people held in connection with armed conflict in facilities under both Afghan and international control.
There are about 100,000 U.S. and NATO-strong forces stationed in the country to curb the Taliban-led insurgency entering its 12th year. But the last of 33,000 U.S. surge troops have pulled out of the country in September.
The ICRC has been working in Afghanistan since 1979.