World

Red Cross: Afghanistan unlikely to improve in 2011

Nov. 29: Jakob Kellenberger, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, speaks in Geneva.

Nov. 29: Jakob Kellenberger, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, speaks in Geneva.  (AP)

The head of the international Red Cross says the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan worsened this year and is unlikely to improve in 2011.

Jakob Kellenberger says the spread of violence to more parts of the country has forced the International Committee of the Red Cross to open five new offices in Afghanistan since 2009.

The aid group expects Afghanistan to be the single biggest item in its 1.2 billion Swiss francs ($1.2 billion) budget for next year.

Kellenberger says only "a political solution" can improve the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan ten years after the U.S.-led invasion to topple the Taliban.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

GENEVA (AP) — The International Committee of the Red Cross is asking donors for an unprecedented 1.2 billion Swiss francs ($1.2 billion) to fund its humanitarian work next year.

The aid group justifies the 12 percent increase over last year's appeal by saying that conflict situations are getting more complicated.

ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger said Thursday the budget was "based on a thorough analysis of needs."

The Geneva-based group says Afghanistan will be its costliest operation in 2011 with an estimated 89 million francs.

It also plans to spend over 80 million francs each in Iraq, Sudan and Pakistan.

The ICRC says the biggest increase will be for Yemen, where fighting between the government and Shiite rebels has displaced thousands of civilians.