Christiane Amanpour: Afghan aid disrupted
(CNN) – A third wave of U.S.-led airstrikes targeted sites in and around the Afghanistan cities of Kabul, Herat and Kandahar on Tuesday. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the damage inflicted on Afghan military sites has allowed the campaign to continue its raids "at will." Meantime, neighboring Pakistan is dealing with fallout from the attack on two fronts – relief efforts and violent protests. They've also had to turn away one visitor from Afghanistan. CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour is in Islamabad.
AMANPOUR: Obviously, the Pakistanis at all levels of government are monitoring this situation very closely. The interior minister, who’s responsible for internal security, told us a little while ago that yesterday the Taliban tried to fly two helicopter gunships out of Afghanistan toward Pakistan. The Pakistanis refused to allow them entrance into this side of the border.
The interior minister said he didn't know exactly why they were coming across ... but they did turn around.
In addition, there have been these demonstrations in Pakistan, the interior minister saying that they have a huge and much beefed-up security presence on the ground. And this is not just in the areas where they have had the demonstrations, but also in the capital of Islamabad and elsewhere.
The demonstrations occurred today mostly in Peshawar, which is close to the Afghan border, and also just outside Quetta, because security officials would not let them come into the town after yesterday’s riots. But they were much less violent today ... [The Pakistanis] believe they have the situation under control.
(Earlier, Amanpour discussed the effect the strikes are having on relief efforts.)
CNN: How difficult is it for aid agencies to conduct their operations because of the airstrikes?
AMANPOUR: They've had to completely suspend the minimal deliveries they began to make before these strikes, and before that the convoys and things had been disrupted and stopped because the Taliban had ordered all foreign workers out of Afghanistan.
They were relying to an extent on their local staff inside to distribute what warehouse stocks are still available. Then they started for a few days sending in convoys by truck, by mule, to try to get food and humanitarian supplies in.
And of course they have since suspended that. But there is some stock inside and there are also these humanitarian airdrops. Of course, we haven't heard the results of whether those humanitarian airdrops have been picked up by civilians in need or where they've been dropped. So, we're waiting to hear. In general, this disrupts a much-needed humanitarian lifeline to Afghanistan.
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