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As Senators Descend On Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, An Update On Humanitarian Aid and Human Rights Abuses

StoryJanuary 11, 2002
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As the US state department says it will no longer speculate about the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, civilians continue to be the casualties of war, whether by bombs, or starvation.

At Maslakh camp, translated as Slaughterhouse in English, 100 displaced Afghans are dying each day of exposure andstarvation. Aid workers are warning that the camp, which is west of Herat city and home to some 350,000 people, ison the brink of an Ethiopian-style humanitarian disaster.

Meanwhile, Kabul seems to have become a PR hotspot for U.S. senators. Many of them have flown in, held a pressconference, and then flown out within a couple of days. At the same time, a series of Congressional delegations havedescended on Uzbekistan. Last week, there were nine senators in the country; this week there are fiverepresentatives; and Senate majority leader Tom Daschle is set to arrive in a couple of days. They are there tobolster relations with the Uzbek government and thank its leaders for their help in the so-called “war on terrorism.”They have made only token reference to the regime’s gross human rights violations.


  • Doug McKinlay, freelance reporter who writes for the London Guardian.
  • Tom Squitierri, USA Today reporter speaking from Kabul.
  • Pratap Chatterjee, Democracy Now! correspondent reporting from Uzbekistan.

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