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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

America Strikes Back: Taliban News Conference

Aired October 22, 2001 - 07:27   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.
ZAHN: All right, we quickly take you to Islamabad, Pakistan, where a Taliban news conference is under way. Let's listen in.

ABDUL SALAM ZAEEF, TALIBAN AMBASSADOR TO PAKISTAN: ... who are present there. Similarly, taken the next areas, homes, shops were hit in Rozghan Province (ph) today. Eighteen civilian casualties are reported to have been recorded. Another report says that an American plane was shot down in Rijistan (ph)...

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Rigistan.

SALAM ZAEEF: Rigistan area of Hinman Province (ph). It is now clear that America planes are intentionally targeting the Afghan people. The goal is to punish the Afghan nation for having chosen an Islamic system. America is using against the Afghan people sophisticated and destructive weapons that have never been used before in any war. A village in Nandruhar Province (ph) was evicted completely -- disappeared completely after bombing by American planes. There are several cities located far from military places. And this is an open terrorist act by Bush administration to terrorize the common Afghan people and to punish them because they believe in an Islamic system.

The Pentagon instead of avoiding to target civilians is giving warning -- wrong justification of its attack in residential areas. It says that 600 people were killed -- 6,000 people were killed in New York, implying that the civilian casualties in Afghanistan are not so much a crime in comparison. We are telling the Bush administration and all those who are siding with them in this genocide that killing of innocent civilians in Afghanistan is a terrorist act, as that of New York.

The hands of Bush and its administration are stained with the blood of innocent Afghan people. superpower does not mean to kill people with impunity. The Bush administration is annoying the soul of those killed, killed in New York, by killing innocent men, women and children in Afghanistan and attacking our country on mere suspicions, mere suspicions.

CIA and FBI have skipped their final to find -- their failure to find the real culprit by putting the blame squarely on Afghanistan without any evidence. We call on those who have human conscience to stand by truth. America has resorted to genocide of the Afghans. This should be condemned in the strongest terms. A superpower must do great things, not to commit atrocities and bloodshed as it is now doing in Afghanistan.

Similarly, we are telling Bush administration that you will never be able to break the will and determination of the Afghans by atrocities, genocide and sophisticated weapons. This is a nation that loves independence and freedom more than its life. Time will rule that. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Now the floor is open for questions. Yes?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: There are reports that you have held meetings with...

ZAHN: All right, we're going to keep our eyes trained to this news conference.

Just to quickly bring you up to date on what the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan has had to say this morning. He is accusing the United States of resorting to genocide. He says that the U.S. has intentionally targeted Afghan people. He claims that some thousand Afghan citizens have been hurt, including 100 at a hospital near the town of Herat.

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