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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

America Strikes Back: Four U.N. Staff Killed and Four Injured in Kabul Attack

Aired October 9, 2001 - 06:08   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: Right now we want to go right into Pakistan to Islamabad where we find CNN's Tom Mintier.

Tom, a lot to talk about today, the United Nations held a news conference about its casualties. What did they say?

TOM MINTIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well they said that four Afghan staff members of the U.N. mine clearance operation have been killed in Kabul, another four wounded and taken to hospital. This announcement was first made this morning, confirmed by the Taliban and then confirmed in the last hour by the United Nations saying that their location, about three kilometers outside of the city of Kabul, took a direct hit destroying a two-story building. We saw the pictures from Al Jazeera television of people going through the rubble. That is where these mine clearance operators worked.

We heard from Stephanie Bunker, who is a coordinator for Afghanistan for humanitarian relief, that indeed four of their local staff were killed in the attack.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANIE BUNKER, UNITED NATIONS: Today, the U.N. coordinator for Afghanistan appeals to the international community to protect innocent civilians while military strikes are going on and I quote -- "People need to distinguish between combatants and those innocent civilians who do not bear arms." They also need to be mindful of protecting assets essential for the survival of Afghan civilians. Staff are clearly the most important resource the aid community in Afghanistan has.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MINTIER: In addition to that, the World Food Program announced that eight trucks with a couple hundred tons of wheat had made it into Kabul and was going to distribute that when they could. In addition to that, they say they have about 9,000 tons of food on the ground inside Afghanistan that they can distribute when they can. But the convoys of trucks will travel no longer on the highways into Afghanistan saying it's simply too dangerous to do so.

We have also heard from Kandahar that two ambulances owned by the U.N. and a couple of pickup trucks have also been taken over by the Taliban. We also heard from the Taliban ambassador in the last hour that Mullah Omar's residence in Kandahar was hit, but he left it about 15 minutes earlier, and that the Taliban ambassador says he has been in phone contact today with Mullah Omar, the leader of the Taliban.

So a lot going on here today. The U.N. saying they lost four local staff workers in Kabul who were involved in mine clearance operations, another four injured -- Carol.

LIN: Thank you very much, Tom Mintier live from Islamabad -- Leon.

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: You know the height of irony, the U.N. folks had lost that crew of four people. That particular crew may be the one that has to go in and defuse any of the ordnance that does not explode that's being dropped right now in Afghanistan. Another ironic twist there.

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