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Disabled Afghans protest against Red Cross attack

Published: Updated:

Scores of disabled people, several of them amputees, gathered outside a Red Cross office in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday to protest against militants who attacked the building four days ago.

A two-hour gun and suicide assault in Jalalabad city on Wednesday left one Afghan guard dead in the first attack on a Red Cross facility in the country since the organization began work there 26 years ago.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) assists thousands of disabled people across Afghanistan, and is renowned for its programs providing artificial limbs and rehabilitation for victims of war and landmines.

“Death to the perpetrators of this inhuman and evil attack,” the protesters, many in wheelchairs or using crutches, chanted outside the office, which has been closed due to the attack.

The ICRC, which had 36 staff in Jalalabad including six expatriates, has also halted all staff movements at its clinics and offices around the country.

The group maintains strict neutrality in the Afghan conflict and was thought to be protected from attack by its working relations with the Taliban and other insurgent groups.

“We have enormous problems. The ICRC has been the only one helping us,” said Ferdous, an amputee who uses only one name. “We call on the government to protect the ICRC.”

Taliban leaders on Friday denied any involvement in the attack.