Mercy Corps Calls on NATO to Improve Security in Afghanistan

Afghanistan, June 24, 2004

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On June 22, Mercy Corps and over fifty other international humanitarian aid, civil society and human rights organizations called on members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to strengthen security efforts in Afghanistan.

The letter calls on world leaders to focus on improving the security situation for the sake of the Afghan people. Violence against aid workers in Afghanistan has increased in recent months, hampering efforts to provide food, shelter, health care and other vital assistance to people in urgent need.

Specifically, the letter asks the leaders of NATO member nations to give special consideration to Afghanistan’s deteriorating security situation during the NATO conference in Istanbul June 28-29.

While renewed violence throughout Afghanistan has slowed down some humanitarian efforts, Mercy Corps continues to operate projects throughout the country. The organization has worked in Afghanistan since 1986, helping millions of Afghan citizens to rehabilitate their lives.

“We have a tremendous amount of support and opportunities in the communities where we work,” said Dan O’Neill, Mercy Corps President and Co-Founder. “However, due to the security situation, we have to operate in a different way today than we did several months ago.”

Mercy Corps and other organizations are working with the Afghan people to build stronger, safer communities. In the letter, the NGOs say NATO should use the Istanbul conference to announce meaningful steps to address the security situation in Afghanistan. Specific plans "would demonstrate NATO's firm commitment to overcoming real security threats, not just in Afghanistan, but around the world."