Britain should be doing more to restore law and order to Afghanistan, the government has been warned.
A soldier guards people queuing at the UN office in Kabul
Large swathes of the country are under the control of warlords where people live under the daily threat of violence, said Christian Aid.
The charity, which is running aid projects in the country, wrote to Foreign Secretary Jack Straw warning him conditions were only getting worse.
Nato takes command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in
the capital Kabul on Monday, but that security should be extended to the whole of the nation, says the charity.
And the push for a change in Nato and United Nations policy towards the war torn country should come from Britain, it adds.
"As we are sure you are aware, the security situation in Afghanistan has
shown a marked deterioration in recent months," said the letter, which was backed by other aid agencies.
Only a properly trained Afghan National Army and police force can bring
stability and security but they are years away, the agencies say.
"In the meantime, radical elements seek to undermine both the transitional
government and the reconstruction process," the letter states.
"In addition, local struggles for power, fuelled in some areas by the opium
trade, are leading to a growing fragmentation of the country.
"While efforts to create a national army, police force and judiciary remain
at an embryonic stage, the ongoing climate of impunity means that there is no
protection for the individual from the arbitrary use of power.
"Growing criminality is further compounding the insecurity felt by the Afghan
population; there are numerous examples of robberies, thefts and assaults even in (supposedly) one of the most secure regions, Herat."
The multinational Nato force should be in place before the next Loya Jirga
gathering of tribal chiefs discusses a constitution in October, according to the
The letter was signed by Martin Kyndt, Christian Aid's acting director, along with AfghanAid's UK director Fraser Mackay, Care International UK's programme director Raja Jarrah, Ken Caldwell of Save the Children and TearFund's Graham Fairburn.