4 United Nations workers were killed in the bombing raids by US military aircraft on October 8th.
The workers were among the 4,800 Afghani civilians working for a UN project to clear the country of land mines. It is thought that intelligence reports by Special Forces of the presence of explosives at the site of attack was responsible for a bad issue of coordinates.
The US bombing raids are part of a softening-up process ahead of a ground offensive spearheaded by the Northern Alliance and an international intervention force, which is building up supply lines in Uzbekistan and Tajikstan, with collaboration from the Russian Federation.
Key sites in Kabul and Kandahar have been attacked, the main objective being communications facilities to disrupt supply lines and information flow. The northern cities of Masar al Sharif and Kunduz have also been targeted ahead of an assault by the Northern Alliance.
The Taleban have meanwhile been burning supplies of food dropped by the US aircraft and have denounced the attacks as terrorism. Data regarding the humanitarian situation in the country is impossible to obtain at present but there are said to be already three million displaced persons, with the suspicion that the food supply chain has broken down in many areas, meaning that this figure could be a serious under-estimate.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru LISBON PORTUGAL
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