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Amanpour: Desperation in Afghanistan

CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour reports from Pakistan on the aid crisis in Afghanistan
CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour reports from Pakistan on the aid crisis in Afghanistan  

(CNN) -- As the U.S.-led bombing campaign in Afghanistan continues, the aid situation in the region is becoming more desperate. One report claims that armed men stormed aid posts and stole vital equipment and supplies.

CNN's Christiane Amanpour spoke on Thursday from Islamabad, Pakistan, with the president of Doctors Without Borders about the difficulty of supplying aid to Afghanistan's civilians. She also provided an update on the airstrikes.

AMANPOUR: It is the twelfth day of bombing and the air campaign is still going on, although reports from Afghanistan suggest that today's bombing raids were relatively lighter than the previous three days.

In Kabul, an Associated Press local reporter is saying that he thinks some of the bombing targeted a tank unit of the Taliban and other military installations. Al Jazeera has sent pictures out of Kabul today. They were not allowed to see military targets. But they were taken to what was described as a residential neighborhood and they say they've seen collapsed dwellings with civilian casualties.

In Kandahar, we've also had reports from sources there -- the Taliban's ruling seat -- of attacks on what they described as a Taliban commando unit in Kandahar. It's not clear whether this is the unit that the United States, some have said, is after. This brigade, they say, contains the Arab volunteer force that makes up the al Qaeda and parts of the Taliban.

Also in Kandahar, the foreign minister spoke today about aid workers and the aid situation there. He said he knows and understands that the international aid workers want to come back, but he says they can't for their own security and he wants them to continue working with their local staff inside Afghanistan.

We're joined now by Dr. Morten Rostrup , the president of Doctors Without Borders. So you heard what the Taliban foreign minister said -- is it possible to keep working with your local staff?

ROSTRUP: It was possible until Monday, when our medical facilities in Kandahar were looted by armed men. It was also possible until Monday in Mazar-e-Sharif, where the same thing happened. We're still running in Herat , and we're still running in Kabul.

AMANPOUR: What are the details of this looting? What are they taking, and who are they?

ROSTRUP: We don't know who, but they're armed men coming into the compound and they were taking everything. So we had to suspend and stop all the medical programs in six provinces. So the people now are suffering even more.

AMANPOUR: How many people roughly depend on this?

ROSTRUP: There are tens of thousands of people.

AMANPOUR: Could they have been people who were looking for desperately needed medicines?

ROSTRUP: No, because they could get medical assistance -- we were running programs there. So, they took something else. They took technical equipment. The whole issue now is, we need to really respect independent humanitarian action inside Afghanistan. This is a bad, bad thing though and we are worried about it.

AMANPOUR: Thank you very much for joining us. It's just one more indication of how difficult it is for the aid organizations to operate and how desperate these people are in Afghanistan.


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