On Thursday morning around 6:30 AM, Action Against Hunger’s office in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province in southwest Afghanistan, was hit by an aerial bomb during fighting in the area. The building was marked from the street and roof as the office of a humanitarian organization, and the office location has been communicated often to the parties involved in the conflict. All staff present were safe in the office bunker and are unharmed. The bomb caused damage to the building and some equipment.
Action Against Hunger had, for several days, put our activities in Lashkar Gah on hold to avoid safety risks to our staff and the people we serve. We are extremely concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.
“Civilians find themselves in between warring parties. They are being are displaced from their homes and are often the first victims of the conflict. Humanitarian organizations like Action Against Hunger try their best to support people’s needs, but we need safety guarantees from all parties to be able to operate,” said Mike Bonke, Action Against Hunger’s Country Director in Afghanistan.
While this does not appear to have been a deliberate attack, all parties to the conflict must respect the safety and security of humanitarian spaces. Attacks against humanitarian workers and operations violate the protections of civilians and humanitarian actors guaranteed under international humanitarian law. As the conflict in Afghanistan escalates, attacks like these further jeopardize our ability to provide lifesaving aid to the communities who need it most.