Taliban Bans Red Cross, WHO From Operating In Afghan Areas Under Its Control

Associated Press: Taliban declare start of spring offensive amid talks with U.S.
“Taliban announced Friday the start of their spring offensive despite talking peace with the United States and ahead of a significant gathering of Afghans meant to discuss resolutions to the protracted war and an eventual withdrawal of American troops from the country. … Meanwhile, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told the AP on Friday that the insurgents banned the International Committee of the Red Cross and the World Health Organization from operating in territory under their control. This is the second time in the past year the insurgents have barred Red Cross workers…” (Shah, 4/12).

Reuters: Afghan Taliban bans WHO and Red Cross work amid vaccination drive
“The Afghan Taliban have banned the World Health Organization and the Red Cross from operating in areas under their control until further notice, a spokesman said on Thursday, citing unspecified ‘suspicious’ actions during vaccination campaigns. The move comes as the WHO is carrying out a vaccination campaign in Afghanistan, one of the last countries in the world where polio is still endemic…” (Mackenzie, 4/11).

VOA News: Afghanistan’s Taliban Bans ICRC, WHO Relief Work
“…An ICRC spokesman confirmed the organization has suspended its relief work because of the withdrawal of security guarantees by the Taliban. ‘Therefore, we are now in the process of contacting the (Taliban) to initiate a bilateral and confidential dialogue in view of the (Taliban) statement,’ Robin Waudo told AFP. There was no immediate reaction from the WHO or the Afghan government to the Taliban’s warning…” (Gul, 4/11).