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Attacks on aid workers in Afghanistan increas -

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ELEANOR HALL: An organisation which has been tracking the security of humanitarian groups in
Afghanistan is warning that attacks on aid workers have risen to their highest level in six years.

In just the last nine months, 28 aid workers have been killed and 72 have been kidnapped and there
have been more than 140 security incidents involving non-government organisations.

The UN special envoy to Afghanistan agrees that the security situation in the country is
deteriorating.

Jennifer Macey has our report.

JENNIFER MACEY: Decades of fighting in Afghanistan have left the country in ruins.

It's still one of the poorest countries in the world, despite billions of foreign aid money pouring
in for reconstruction efforts.

But the worsening security situation is making it harder for aid workers to do their job.

Professor Clive Williams is from the Centre for Policing and Counter-Terrorism at Macquarie
University.

CLIVE WILLIAMS: The NGOs are having a harder time of it in Afghanistan now to the extent that very
often they will only fly from one place to another.

For example, there is a new highway that the Americans built from Kabul to Kandahar, but even so,
NGO workers normally fly from one place to the other because the road is regarded as unsafe.

So a lot of areas I think, it's very difficult for them to operate now, and unless an area is
reasonably secure there is a reluctance by NGOs to operate in those areas.

JENNIFER MACEY: A new report shows that attacks against aid workers in Afghanistan are at their
highest level in six years.

The Afghanistan NGO Safety Office has been monitoring security incidents involving NGOs since 2002.

It's found that in the past nine months there have been 146 attacks on NGOs compared to just 135
for all of last year.

Professor Williams again:

CLIVE WILLIAMS: The locals in many areas want what the NGOs can provide but the problem is, I
think, that the Taliban and others, war lords and so on, associate them with the central
government, which is quite unpopular in many areas of Afghanistan.

It's perceived as being corrupt and having little relevance at a local level, and sometimes they
disparagingly talk about how Hamid Karzai is the mayor of Kabul, rather than the national leader.

So I think that that's the problem the NGOs have got, is that being identified with the central
government and sometimes of course with ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) and the
Americans.

JENNIFER MACEY: These dire statistics have been backed by the UN special envoy to Afghanistan.

Kai Eide told a special session of the UN Security Council in New York that the security situation
in Afghanistan was getting worse, not better.

KAI EIDE: In July and August we witnessed the highest number of insecurity incidents since 2002. It
was an increase of up to 40 per cent compared to the same months in July and August last year.

JENNIFER MACEY: He said this was despite a slight reprieve in attacks during the Muslim holy
festival of Ramadan in September.

And he warned not to expect the same lull in the insurgent hostilities over winter as has been
experienced in previous years.

KAI EIDE: First of all, that the influence of the insurgency has spread beyond the traditional
areas in the south and the east and that it's extended to provinces around Kabul.

Second, there was an increase in asymmetric attacks, some of them very sophisticated, which
contributed to an increase in civilian casualties.

And third, there was more and sometimes deadly attacks against aid-related and humanitarian
targets.

JENNIFER MACEY: Afghanistan's Defence Minister General Abdul Rahim Wardak blames the surge in
attacks on the improving security situation in Iraq.

ABDUL RAHIM WARDAK: A lot of terrorists, which were busy in other places, have all been diverted to
Afghanistan. The success of the coalition forces in Iraq, and also some other issues in some of the
neighbouring countries, have made it possible that there is a major increase in the foreign
fighters.

JENNIFER MACEY: He says the attacks are getting more sophisticated and more deadly.

On Tuesday two separate roadside bomb attacks killed 16 Afghan civilians and three NATO troops.

Professor Clive Williams says the international community needs to radically rethink its approach
to Afghanistan.

CLIVE WILLIAMS: Well I think that the only outcome that will be achieved in the long run is some
sort of negotiated deal which in some areas might be with the Taliban, in other areas it might be
with war lords.

I think that's the only practical option for the future, and in those circumstances where there's a
degree of stability because of local agreements, then obviously it's easier for NGOs to work and
deliver the goods and services they want to deliver.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Professor Clive Williams from Macquarie University ending that report by
Jennifer Macey.