27 May 2010

International Red Cross giving first-aid training to Taliban

6:03 am on 27 May 2010

The International Committee of the Red Cross says it has been providing first-aid training to the Taliban in Afghanistan.

An ICRC statement said the organisation had provided basic training and first aid kits to about 70 members of what it described as the "armed opposition" last month.

The ICRC said that it had also provided training to civilians. A spokesman said that the training had been going on for some time to ensure that everyone is treated humanely.

The ICRC's constitution stipulates that all parties harmed by warfare will be treated as fairly as possible.

Correspondents say that announcement that the ICRC is providing first aid training to the Taliban, is not a surprise.

A NATO spokesman in Kabul said that the alliance respects the humanitarian work carried out by the ICRC and recognises the need for this work to be carried out impartially.

The spokesman pointed out that NATO frequently provided first aid to wounded Taliban fighters.

The BBC reports Afghanistan is the ICRC's biggest operation worldwide.

It has 140 international and 1,540 national staff based in its main delegation in Kabul and in five sub-delegations and 10 offices countrywide.