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Vause: Red Cross hit in Kabul

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) The International Committee for the Red Cross said Tuesday that U.S.-led air strikes on Afghanistan destroyed a Red Cross warehouse on the outskirts of Kabul. One person was injured.

Heavy damage was also reported in the cities Kabul and Kandahar. The tenth day of attacks came as U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell visited Islamabad, Pakistan, before moving on to New Delhi, India.

His diplomatic visits to the two countries presented a unique challenge in his efforts to solidify support for the counter-terrorism campaign in the region.

CNN International anchor Zain Verjee spoke with correspondent John Vause, reporting from Islamabad.

JOHN VAUSE: The bombing of the warehouse in Kabul comes after another intensive day of air strikes across Afghanistan. We're being told that the warplanes attacked both Kabul and Kandahar, hitting the usual targets -- military depots and fuel depots, communications, that kind of thing.

Now we're being told by the International Committee for the Red Cross that the warehouse that was hit was believed to have housed blankets, sheeting, supplies. The Red Cross told CNN a short time ago that really the building was very clearly marked, with the Red Cross on the roof.

They tell us that the local Afghans who work for the Red Cross did try to go into the building, even though it was on fire, to try to rescue some of those supplies -- supplies as you can imagine (that) are desperately needed for people who are still in Kabul and the surrounding areas. Just how much they managed to salvage from that fire is unclear. There was one injury: an Afghan man who was hit with flying glass and was fairly severely cut.

ZAIN VERJEE: U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell was in Pakistan; he's now in India. But while in Pakistan, what did Pakistani authorities get out of that visit?

VAUSE: Essentially, from Colin Powell, they got a very big thank you, a thank you for the support, a thank you for staying with us. In fact, at a press conference, CNN's Andrea Koppel asked Pakistani President Musharraf if in fact there was some kind of deadline on the support that Pakistan would give to the United States. He was very adamant. He said, "There is no deadline."

Obviously Musharraf said Pakistan would prefer this campaign to be over sooner rather than later, but he's willing to stay the course with the United States. For the U.S., that's the kind of support that it has been looking for from Pakistan. The U.S. is obviously trying to make sure that President Musharraf will in fact stay the course, will be there to support the U.S. in this campaign against terror as part of the coalition.

It's obviously a very delicate line for the U.S. secretary of state. New Delhi is becoming increasingly concerned about the closer ties between Islamabad and Washington. That's a very fine line for the secretary of state. He must try to negotiate these two countries -- nuclear rivals -- without showing favoritism to one or the other. But obviously, at the moment Pakistan is more important than India.



 
 
 
 


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