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Humanitarian Organizations Face Looting and Killing As They Try to Deliver Aid to the Poorest People of Afghanistan

November 15, 2001

When the Northern Alliance took Kabul, many thought that humanitarian aid could be immediately resumed into the poverty-stricken country.

But the United Nations Children’s Fund said yesterday that it had suspended aid convoys to Afghanistan after fearsthat two drivers may have been killed in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, which fell to the Northern Alliance onFriday. The drivers were ethnic Pashtun and the city is dominated by other minorities. Mazar-i-Sharif has a historyof reprisal atrocities when it changes hands in Afghanistan’s civil war.

The World Food Program is reporting that there is pillaging in Mazar as well as civilian kidnappings, armed men outof control and fighting in the streets. The WFP says that 89 tons of food in U.N. warehouses has been stolen sincethe Northern Alliance took Mazar several days ago.

And the fighting continues, as Afghan opposition forces close in on the Taliban’s headquarters in Kandahar. Warlordsare grabbing huge chunks of territory and the U.S. is continuing with air strikes, and US commandos are trying toblock Osama bin Laden’s possible escape routes.

The Taliban has abandoned most key cities, but has vowed to wage a guerrilla war against US and opposition forces.


  • Khaled Mansour, spokesman for the World Food Program (Islamabad).

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