And if the ICG report (below) was not bad enough, Reto Stocker, the outgoing head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delegation in Kabul declared yesterday that for ordinary Afghans, the armed conflict in the country has taken a turn for the worse: "I am filled with concern as I leave this country. Since I arrived here in 2005, local armed groups have proliferated, civilians have been caught between not just one but multiple front lines, and it has become increasingly difficult for ordinary Afghans to obtain health care," said Mr Stocker. "People are not just suffering the effects of the armed conflict. Hardship arising from the economic situation, or from severe weather or natural disaster, has become more widespread, and hope for the future has been steadily declining."
The ICRC has devoted an entire issue of its International Review to Conflict in Afghanistan. The journal contains many interesting articles and will be followed by Part II in the near future. Keep an eye out for that edition, which contains a number of articles analysing the Taliban's Layha or Code of Conduct for fighters.