After reports of heavy civilian casualties from the overnight bombing north-west of Jalalabad, the Pentagon decided to spend millions to buy the rights to satellite pictures of the area, preventing western media from seeing the devastation.
The Taliban has allowed western media into the country only once since the conflict, and then only for a quick tourof a bombing site. Hundreds of reporters are gathered, cut off from the action, in a sliver of Afghanistan controlledby the Northern Alliance.
The Pentagon has also refused journalists access to aircraft and staging bases they have had during most militaryactions.
All of this makes it almost impossible for Westerners to see how the Afghan people are being affected by the U.S.attack.
What we do know is that thousands of refugees are trying to leave Afghanistan. More than 6,000 refugees have crossedinto Pakistan at the official border post at Chaman in the past three days, and thousands more are believed to bemaking their way along unguarded desert paths into Baluchistan. Some of them are carrying wounded family members offriends.
Around 50,000 refugees are thought to have entered Pakistan but many more have fled to the mountains of Afghanistanto escape the bombing.
One woman who reached Quetta yesterday said, “Everyone who can is getting out.”
Aid agencies are warning of a catastrophe unfolding inside Afghanistan, with millions of people too poor or sick toundertake the grueling journey to the border.
We’re joined right now by an independent filmmaker from Canada, who was able to visit Afghan refugee camps last yearand spent much of his time with the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan.
- Velcrow Ripper, Canadian filmmaker, producer of “Scared Sacred.”
- RAWA member
- RAWA orphans
- Afghan refugees in slums
- RAWA demo