January 29, 2018 13:00

NGO-community Afghanistan calls for action to ensure the protection of aid workers following the attack on Non-Governmental Organizations in Jalalabad

We, the 61 undersigned National and International Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), members of Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief and Development (ACBAR), condemn in the strongest terms the atrocious attack on NGO offices in Jalalabad (Nangarhar) on Wednesday 24 January. It has been reported that there is a loss of at least 7 lives, more than 31 people injured, including five children.

We would like to pass our condolences to the families of the victims of this atrocious attack. NGOs in Afghanistan are often the first line of response for those in need. In 2017, through the support of NGOs alongside other humanitarian actors, well over 3.4 million people across Afghanistan received food, water, shelter and other life-saving assistance to meet their most basic needs. “It is of the upmost importance that NGOs are able to act in circumstances of extreme humanitarian need, including in situations of armed conflict, with the assurance that their personnel, their property, and their activities will not be directly or indirectly attacked”, states Fiona Gall, director of ACBAR. Such an atrocious attack is a clear violation of International Humanitarian Law. We therefore demand a rapid, independent and transparent investigation into how and why this incident occurred.

This is not an isolated incident. Attacks on humanitarian workers are a common occurrence in Afghanistan. Over the last year, there have been 156 attacks on aid workers committed by actors involved in the current conflict. This includes 17 aid workers who have been killed as they attempted to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance including food, safe drinking water and healthcare to those most in need.

Attacks on humanitarian actors are attacks on the people we are trying to serve. Ultimately, any attack, intimidation, violence or threat against aid workers will result in delays in aid implementation or even the withdrawal of aid altogether - negatively impacting the welfare of the most vulnerable people of Afghanistan. The provision of life-saving humanitarian assistance is a neutral act, protected under International Humanitarian Law. We call on all parties to the Afghan conflict to respect the neutrality of NGOs, their staff and their facilities, as well as to respect International Humanitarian Law, which provides protection to aid workers and civilians. “Across the world, the number of violent attacks against aid workers is increasing. It is taking place in a context of “normalization” of the use of violence against civilians and aid workers in conflicts settings. It is an overall erosion of respect humanity and humanitarian work”, says Kinga Komorowska (Country Director, Action Against Hunger).

Despite the United Nations Security Resolution 2175 (2014) condemning all attacks on aid workers, a culture of impunity continues to exist. Following discussions at the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016, as NGOs operating in Afghanistan, we re-emphasise the need for all actors to respect International Humanitarian Law and to condemn all attacks on aid workers and civilians. As a concrete commitment to the protection of all aid workers, we call upon the international system to explore legal and judicial mechanisms to ensure protection of our staff from violence, as well as accountability after violence has been perpetrated, with the introduction of a Special Representative for Strengthening the Protection of Aid Workers.

Concrete action is needed to ensure protection of all aid-workers as we, the NGO-community in Afghanistan continue in our work to support those most in need in Afghanistan.


AAA (Action Aid Afghanistan)

AABRAR (Afghan Amputee Bicyclists For Rehabilitation And Recreation)

AADRO (Afghan Australian Development and Rehabilitation Organization)

ACF (Action Against Hunger)

ACKU (Afghanistan Center at Kabul University)

ACTED (Agence d'aide a la Cooperation Technique et au Development)

ADA (Afghanistan Development Association)

ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency International)

Afghan Aid (Afghanaid)

AFRANE (Amitie Franco-Afghane)

AHDAA (Agency For Humanitarian and Development Assistance For Afghanistan)

AHDS (Afghan Health and Development Services)

ASAARO (Afghan Social And Agriculture Affairs Rehabilitation Organization)

AWRC (Afghan Women's Resource Center)

CARE (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere)

CHA (Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance)

CoAR (Coordination of Afghan Relief)

Cordaid (Catholic Organization for Relief and Development Aid)

CWW (Concern World Wide)

DACAAR (Danish Committee for Aid to Afghan Refugees)

DAO (Development and Ability Organization)

DCA (Dutch Committee for Afghanistan)

DRC (Danish Refugee Council)

FRDO (Female Rehabilitation And Development Organization)

GERES (Group for the Environment, Renewable Energy and Solidarity)

GNI (Good Neighbours International)

GWO (Green Way Organization)

HI (Handicap International)

HIHAO (Hand In Hand Afghanistan Organization)

IMC (International Medical Corps)

INTERSOS (Intersos)

IRC (International Rescue Committee)

JUH (The Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe)

JVC (Japan International Volunteer Center)

LC (La Chaine de Espoir)

MADERA (Mission d' Aid au Development des Economies Rurales Programme Afghanistan)

MCA (Mercy Corps Afghanistan)


NAC (Norwegian Afghanistan Committee)


PARSA (Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation and Support for Afghanistan)

PIN (People In Need)

PU-AMI (Première Urgence - Aide Medicale Internationale)

RI (Relief International)

RRAA (Rural Rehabilitation Association for Afghanistan)

SCA (Swedish Committee for Afghanistan)

SCI (Save the Children)

SDO (Sanayee Development Organization)

SERVE (Serving Emergency Relief and Vocational Enterprises)

SI (Solidarity International)

SVA (Shanti Volunteer Association)

TACT (Today's Afghanistan Conciliation Trust)

TCOW (The Children Of War)

TdH (Terre Des Hommes)

TEO (Tashabos Educational Organization)

THRA (Training Human Rights Association for Afghan Women)

THT (The HALO Trust)

WCC (War Child Canada)

WF (omanity Foundation)

WHH (Deutsche Welthungerhilfe e.V.)

ZOA (Zoa Refugee Care)