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Outgoing Red Cross head in Kabul has bleak outlook

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October 8, 2012 06:44 AM EST | AP

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GENEVA — The outgoing head of the Red Cross delegation in Afghanistan says civilians are in greater danger with less hope for peace than when he arrived on his job seven years ago.

Reto Stocker says he's "filled with concern" as he leaves the job he's had since 2005 because suffering and hardship have increased among ordinary Afghans while their "hope for the future has been steadily declining."

Stocker said in a statement Monday that the proliferation of local armed groups has left civilians "caught between not just one but multiple front lines."

But he says the Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross has made some progress by persuading warring parties to hear some its concerns about the war that began when the U.S. invaded on Oct. 7, 2001.