Source Pravda.Ru

Collateral Damage

Among the many claims by the Taleban of bombing raids on civilians, the United Nations has confirmed that a hospital in Heart was hit.

Stephanie Bunker, United Nations representative in Islamabad, confirmed yesterday that a hospital was hit in the Afghan city of Heart in an air raid carried out by American military aircraft. She said it was impossible to confirm the number of victims claimed by the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, Mullah Abdul Sallam Zaeef, the previous day.

Ambassador Zaeef stated that there had been around one hundred victims among the doctors, nurses, and patients when the hospital received a direct hit from a bomb dropped during a US air raid over the city.

Other claims by the Taleban that another civilian hospital in Heart had been bombed on Monday have not been confirmed and neither have reports that the US Air Force has used chemical weapons during attacks on civilians.

Refugees arriving in the Pakistani city of Qetta yesterday claimed that a column of refugees trying to escape the bombing after their houses had been destroyed was strafed, also by American aircraft, and that 20 members of the column, including nine children, had been killed. The incident is said to have taken place at Tarine Khot, near Kandahar. One refugee who claims to have witnessed the event stated that there were no Taliban bases within a radius of three kilometres from where the homes were destroyed.

Finally, eyewitnesses stated that a 1,000-pound bomb had been dropped on October 23rd in a field near an old people’s home near Kandahar. The British Ministry of Defence admitted that there had been military activity against Taliban camps in the area on that day. Information in wartime is a precious commodity because of its great impact as propaganda to sway public opinion. The claims by the Taliban, pathological and compulsive liars in recent weeks, are always suspect. However, it transpires that some of the reports of collateral damage are true.

Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru LISBON PORTUGAL