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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Crowd Clashes With Police Outside Stadium During Kabul Soccer Game

Aired February 15, 2002 - 05:25   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 COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Okay, breaking news now, very bizarre. In Kabul, a crowd of Muslim pilgrims goes berserk at a soccer game as the Afghan team plays against a team put together by international forces.

CNN's Brian Palmer is in Kabul -- what happened, Brian?

BRIAN PALMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, let me just clarify a couple of things. There are no Muslim pilgrims here and the soccer match actually has not gone mad. There are two very, very different situations. On the inside, you have a soccer game going forward between members chosen from two Afghan teams and members of the international security and assistance force. The Afghans have actually scored the first point.

On the outside, that's a different situation. You have thousands of people who are clamoring to get into the stadium. There have been confrontations. There have been injuries. There have even been shots fired by the Afghan police. But so far the situation is under control. The actual perimeter outside is being controlled by German soldiers. I'm watching them right now as they're trying to keep people in line.

For some of the people trying to get into the stadium, it's almost become a game with smiling young boys taunting the soldiers and the soldiers and military police driving them back. But again, I can walk three steps and watch soccer players doing their thing. Granted, there are several hundred troops from Germany, the U.K., Denmark, Ireland, France, all over the place.

But, again, a very, very different scene on the inside from the one outside.

COSTELLO: It looked pretty scary to me. And there were shots fired outside of the stadium? So everybody's safe? I mean no one's been killed or -- but some people have been injured, that's what you're telling us?

PALMER: That is correct. And you, that is, I guess, how I would characterize the situation there. There has been violence. There have been these confrontations. But soldiers are deployed. They seem to be managing the crowd. It's a very odd situation because here you have a stadium, the Olympic Stadium, that used to host executions. Now it's the site of public entertainment. So you have thousands and thousands of people who have been starved of this kind of spectacle really clamoring to get in. A lot of invitations to go around so this has become a focal point for really the entire city of Kabul.

COSTELLO: Well, I guess, Brian, you've got to think that they'll do things differently the next time they hold a soccer match at that stadium.

PALMER: One would think so, yes.

COSTELLO: Okay. Well, you stay safe. Thank you for that report. And we'll get another update in the next hour.

Unbelievable. But I guess you could understand it. I mean there has been no entertainment whatsoever for so many years. Actually, you can't understand it. I take it back.

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